Published: August 3rd 2012July 27th 2012
My day started a bit differently this morning. We had a group photo, and Athol Franz was being picky. The group had a great time ripping him apart. I took my standard walk down to the flightline and put my chair down in anticipation for the massive show expected the afternoon.
I decided I should possibly do some memorabilia shopping before I left, so I bought myself a couple of T-Shirts, Caps, and a really interesting book on the B-29 type and its combat history.
I had another walk through the warbirds area and saw that even more T-28s had arrived. I am almost prepared to saw that the T-28 is to the USA at an airshow, what the the Harvard is to South Africa at an airshow; extremely numerous. I hopped on the free Warbirds tour tram, and was guided through the warbirds area by a very experience commentator. This was really interesting and I learnt a lot about specific types that I never knew. As we were passing through a gap in the aircraft, I heard a jet engine run up, and at the same moment saw the source; the F-4 Phantom roared down the runway and into the air. That is something that you dont see very often at all.
We then had a march through the main area of the airshow grounds with all the different visiting nations. There I saw some of the South African guests that were not a part of our group. I should really like to meet the person standing next to me in the South African photo.
I then took a walk through the KC-135 tanker, and saw all the equipment used to refuel the USAF aircraft.
The afternoon airshow had the first display of an Operational Frontline fighter aircraft, the F-18, ever at Airventure. The Iron Eagles, flying their Christen Eagle aircraft performed an amazongly tight routine, with a really impressive mirror pass.
Chuck Aaron, the only helicopter pilot licenced to do aerobatics in the USA, performed with his highly modified BO-105 Red Bull Helicopter. The modifications on the helicopter include shortened composite rotor blades and a titanium rotorhead. The difference those modifications make is that the aircraft can do rolls and loops as well as sudden changes in attitude without chopping the tail boom off.
The Commemorative Air Force next started to set up for their Tora Tora Tora reinactment of the Pearl Harbour Attacks. A group of WWII era dressed ladies set up a picnic in front of the crowds, and sentries patrolled the area. The attack began with the Japanese A-6M2 Zeros dropping their bombs, and firing off rounds. The Nakajima Kate, and Aichi Val simulated their torpedoing runs. A lone P-40 Warhawk took off and chased the Zeros around.
The pyrotechnics were really big, and the all the smoke in the air gave me the feeling of actually being there.
The aircraft used in the display were all AT-6 aircraft, modified to look like the Zero, Val and Kate aircraft. This was done for the the 1960 movie, Tora Tora Tora. The CAF bought the aircraft from the set of the film and has been performing the routine for over 40 years.
The real aircraft depicted in the routine are so rare that it is too much of a risk to fly them in those situations. There are only two flying examples of the Zero anywhere in the world.
The show continued after the Tora with the history of WWII, with displays and bombing runs from the 3 B-25 bombers present, simulating the Doolittle Raiders. The show ended with the B-29 FiFi dropping the Atomic Bomb, a huge wall of fire, on Hiroshima. My mind was numbed by the displays.
I returned to the camp earlier this evening to out my chair in my tent and then headed to the internation dinner. This was an informal dinner with lots of nice food and dessert. I spent the dinner hearing George's stories from the day.At twilight I headed back to camp for a shower and now I'm here, and I need to go to sleep.