Miramar Air Show 2009

Trip Report 20091004

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The Experience

One of the interesting things about living where we live is that we are line-of-sight from the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar. Each year, Miramar hosts a world class air show. We have attended several times in the past, but usually we just watch the events from our front yard. This year, we decided to actually attend and see things up close.

The photos below are what we saw.

The show was well in progress when we arrived, which was in the middle of a mock air assault. Above, CH-47 heavy lift cargo helicopters approach the crowd.

The CH-53 helicopters were next in the parade.

Shortly thereafter, we had an over flight by an F-18. Note the afterburners and the cargo pod on the underbelly of the aircraft.

The place was packed with people and the stands were full. This time, we decided to go "top drawer" and actually pay to sit in the grandstand.

There was a MIG-17 at the show being flown for Red Bull. In fact, there were a number of aircraft that were Red Bull branded. I guess that the energy drink business is quite profitable. The photo above shows the MIG with its afterburners engaged.

While the MIG was still in the air, they brought out this jet-powered semi. Quite a sight.

The truck threw quite a flame behind it as it screamed down the flight line. Note the heat distortion at the right of the photo.

When the truck was in position at the end of the flight line, they staged a "race" between the MIG and the truck. The MIG came in slow and the truck managed to catch it from a standing start.

Oracle had a big presence at the show as well and were sponsoring this fellow in his high performance biplane. He was an excellent pilot and put on quite a show.

The biplane was followed by an F-16. The F-16 has been in production since 1976 and is still in production "for export". This plane is planned to be in active service until 2025.

The F-16 is capable of 9-G turns, but I think that the human has trouble handling that many G's.

At the end of the F-16's performance it flew alongside of a WW-II P-51 Mustang.

After watching from the stands, we decided to hike around a bit and see some of the planes on display. Above is an A4 Skyhawk

This is an F-4 Phantom that saw service in Viet Nam.

Some people (usually fixed wing plane owners or pilots) claim that there are two kinds of helicopters: those that have crashed and those that are going to crash. I think that is their joke about the complexity of these machines. Above is the rotor head for a CH-53. Plenty of moving parts.

Another view of the CH-53.

The CH-47 has been in service since the early 1960s and is still in use today. The CH-47F variant will be in service through 2030 under current plans.

Kathleen considers what this would look like in our driveway. This is a mine-resistant truck and while big, it uses the same size tires as my Unimog.

One of the Marine's F-18s on display. This is an active duty machine and is in service within the fleet.

The M1A Abrams main battle tank.

A shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile.

The C130 is just a tad older than I am. These planes were put in service in 1951 and have been in continuous use since then.

AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter.

A Harrier VTOL was hovering for the crowd. Very impressive.

The Harrier landed and took off vertically; zero runway required.

The Blue Angles show started with a C-130 JATO-assisted takeoff. Note the solid rockets on the side of the aircraft. Also note the helical trails left by the propellers during the exposure period.

The C-130 is called "Fat Albert" and provides logistical support for the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels march out to their planes to start their show.

A wave to the crowd as they taxi into position for takeoff.

Staged and ready to go. Afterburners are engaged and smoke is on.

After an in-formation takeoff, they returned over the field in their tight "diamond" formation. Distance between wing tips is claimed to be only 18 inches.

The two soloists flew on approaching paths and turned their planes sideways to avoid collision at the very last second.

The in-formation loop was quite impressive.

The soloists returned with one flying inverted.

A simulated carrier approach with landing gear and tail hooks down.

A split inverted fly-by.

Talk about timing (not them, me!), I hit the shutter at just the right moment go catch the symmetrical outline above.

The tight formation with smoke was very impressive.

Too bad they were flying in from the sun side of the air field, it blanked out the color of the planes.

Each of the passes demonstrated very tight alignment of their formation.

Above, the soloists demonstrated the near-stall capability of the F-18 and one is climbing away.

A staggered barrel roll.

The formation headed skyward and then separated into separate directions.

One of the final moves of the show. Quite spectacular.

The Miramar air show is always interesting. We have been several times in the past, but this show was particularly nice since we sat in the grandstand. If you attend, take your ear plugs as the planes are quite loud. And bring plenty of cash, the concessions are not cheap. Beers were $7 and hot dogs were $6.

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