It's been a while since I've been to an air show, and the last few were at Edwards Air Force Base BEFORE all the 9/11 based security rigmarole brought security and peace to our lives, so my expectations were already at flight level 300 when I heard the Davis Monthan Air Show was going to be happening this year. I managed to flex my SimHQ muscle and got a media badge for the event which got me early escorted access to the display area and a more-or-less private area that had a great unobstructed view of the flight line until all the event staff started showing up and parked their cars in front of us! Well, there's some sort of saying about horses and mouths and gifts but even with the obstructions, we had a great show and I wanted to share just a few of the 800+ photos I took today.
Believe it or not, there was actually some risk of the DM Air Show getting rained out. We get probably 10 days of rain a year in Tucson, and one of those days just happened to be the first day of the airshow. Luckily, the rains were light and the clouds blew through by noon, but the first half of the day was gray and downright cold!
We call them strange white fluffy thingies up in the sky "strange white fluffy thingies".
In addition to the flight events, no airshow would be complete without static displays, and DM had the largest selection of static displays I had ever seen. I spent about three hours going up and down four rows of them only to find out I missed out on more than half of the displays! I know where I'll be spending most of tomorrow!
This view shows less than one quarter of the static displays available.
Here's an F22 that was closely guarded at all times.
The guys in green on the left of the photo have guns. Big guns.
Since DM is the undisputed Home of the Hawg, there were more than plenty Warthogs around to gawk at.
Here's an obligatory shot down the barrels of a GAU-8.
Our neighbors from across the pond were showcasing their Tornados which had the greasy grimy look of a real airplane, which I somehow appreciated. Airshow aircraft are often way too clean to be believable, in my humble opinion.
DCS A-10C pilots should recognize the centerline store.
At almost every static display, personnel were on hand to answer questions or just jaw about aviation. The Brits at the Tornados were too busy for me to ask what the heck this particular item was. I suspect it's an ECM pod of some sort: any guesses?
Is it a rocket from a GI Joe tank?
One of the scheduled events was a series of RC aircraft flight. Due to the weather they were grounded for the day, but they made a nice static display as backup.
One pretty Jug.
RC airplanes normally don't excite me too much, but when I saw this particular model being worked on, I knew I wanted to see it fly.
"Let's see...so I know I plug the CICU into the IFFCC and the EGI connects there, but where does this NMSP cable go?"
One of the F/A-18A Hornets (not the Supers) on display had a platform so folks could walk up and see the cockpit. I'll see if the pilot will let me sit in the seat tomorrow.
"This lever here is a doohickey, while this button activates the thingamabob."
Of course they had Falcons at the show, this one being one of the local species frequently spotted in the area.
Older aircraft made up a significant part of the display as well, including this extremely well maintined TBM-3.
THIS plane made carrier takeoffs and landings?! It's so huge!
You can't have an airshow without a P-51 with lots of chrome on it, and Lady Alice here certainly didn't disappoint.
There was a trio of T-34As with a group from the Red Star Pilots who hail from nearby Phoenix. Turns out they do formation flight "clinics" from an airfield not terribly far from where I live. Who knows, maybe SimHQ will have a "How I Learned To Fly Formation" article here soon!
This is me trying to be artsy.