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God Bless America

shockwave jet truck

Say ‘allo to my leetle fren’, Shockwave. He’s a Peterbilt mounted with three Pratt & Whitney J34-48 jet engines (angled slightly downward so it doesn’t launch itself directly into the stratosphere). Zero to 300 mph in 11 seconds and burns 400 gallons of fuel per mile on a speed run. And THIS, my friends, is why we simply must drill in ANWR.

Yep. I went to the RI Air Show this Saturday. The British Red Arrows (the RAF’s version of the Blue Angels) were there. They got here by hopping from England to Scotland to Iceland to Greenland to Northern Canada to the civilized world. Uncle B sent me a Red Arrows t-shirt last year, so I had to wear it. Turned out to be a collosal mistake, since they weren’t selling Red Arrow merchandice at the show (pff! Brits!). I nearly got mugged for it, when I wasn’t being mistaken for Red Arrow support staff.

There were some fantastic stunt pilots there, but Weasel’s into the milporn. And there was plenty and plenty of it. Quonset was once our main Navy pilot training base (it’s a peninsula, and the wind from the ocean apparently simulates a deck landing especially well). It’s an aviation museum now, so it’s all over the place with the decommissioned aircraft.

Sadly, the planes on the ground were covered in children, and the ones in the air were too fast or too far away for me to catch properly (a few pics on my Flickr page. Please to ignore all the typos and sorting errors I just noticed).

It was awesome.

At one point, a stunt pilot flew in low, raised the nose until the belly of the plane faced the crowd, and waggled it side to side in a maneuver I cannot begin to wrap my head around the aerowotsis of. The woman next to me said, “wow! But…I can’t help thinking about all that wasted fuel.”

Liberalism really is a mental disease, isn’t it?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 3:01 pm

Buncha videos of Shockwave on YouTube, but this video is a little sharper.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’VE GOT A NEW TOY TO PLAY WITH!!!

Comment from baxtrice
Time: June 30, 2008, 3:19 pm

Awesomness on a stick!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 30, 2008, 3:59 pm

Uh-oh. Methinks its GPS time in Weaselville.

RE: Liberals – I would have been thinking about garrotes and firing squads.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 4:17 pm

Damn it, Janet! They had a semi with flaming flatulance, and DIDN’T bring Robosaurus to the party? They are COMMUNISTS, i say, COMMUNISTS!!!! πŸ™‚

Comment from LemurKing
Time: June 30, 2008, 4:23 pm

I heard on TV that the thing brakes with g-forces that are just about what is required to detach your retina. Something around 11-13G’s (negative)

A good “gee-whiz” read: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/warplanes/gforces.html

Sorry, distracted – I am really really envious. Really. Did your fillings rattle? You should have just laughed stupidly and drooled on that lady’s arm. Would have taught her to speak idiocies to total strangers.

Comment from porknbean
Time: June 30, 2008, 4:50 pm

WOO HOO…semi with flaming flatulence…I like it. The only waste I see is that they didn’t barbecue some pig haunches. I’m all for multi-tasking. Just think of all the meat and mallows you could have roasted off the back of that thing. Er, maybe some many yards off the back of that thing. I like well done, not charred.

And if that stoopid woman was worried about all of that fuel, then why did she waste hers going to the show and watching, only to tsk tsk? Ding bat.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 30, 2008, 5:12 pm

Ah – PnB. The quintessential question about Liberals: “Why?”

She went to the air show because it felt good to do so at the time.

She self-rightiously complained about the wasted fuel because it felt good to do so at the time, and to relieve herself of the residual guilt of “having a good time”.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:11 pm

My favorite thing in the whole show was the F/A-18 Hornet, which I guess is the Navy’s current fighter. Not so much to look at — it was too quick — but when that fucker buzzed us, the sound was unreal. It wasn’t so much a sound as a deep, thrumming vibration in my chest cavity that threatened to turn all my internal organs into pudding. Holy SHIT! Brought a tear to my eye. Really, it did.

You know, if I were Osama bin Asshole and a formation of those things buzzed my cave, I’d surrender to the very noise of them.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:16 pm

My second favorite thing — the Harrier. I’ve always heard that the force required to make one hover or take off vertically ate fuel at the rate of a zillion gallons a minute or something, but it can’t be. They couldn’t do a vertical takeoff because the runway was asphalt and couldn’t stand the heat. So, to make up for it, they hovered that sucker for…oh, I’d say ten minutes, anyhow. Hung in the air about a hundred feet up, drifting lazily side to side, slowly spinning in a circle, flying backwards for a while. And then took off, flew around for a while and landed (not exactly vertical, but very very shallow).

Though, as someone pointed out, it wasn’t carrying weapons or anything so it’s much lighter than it would be going into combat.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:20 pm

Third favorite thing: the B-2 Spirit. I was sitting cross-legged in the shadow of an old plane, eating a hamburger and talking to Uncle B on the cell phone, when Ol’ Stealthy passed right overhead. I knew they were silent to radar, but I had no idea they were pretty much silent to, like, ears. He turned around and made another pass and I got two quick, lame pictures…and then he was gone.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:25 pm

Fun, ain’t they? I used to love the F-14D before they were retired. Did the F-18 do it’s little tail-walk along the runway? I watched one tail-walk a half-mile at about 35 MPH once, they open the gas and take off vertically.

And yes, the B-2 is a quiet fvcker. All the better to sneak up on the French embassy with LOL……..

Comment from XBradTC
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:28 pm

I grew up in a aviation family, so airshows are in my blood. Nice pics on the Flickr.

If you like Aerobatics, check out this one:

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:31 pm

No, I didn’t see that maneuver, although they did demonstrate how the F/A-18 can go slow — not normally something a jet likes to do.

The awesomest thing he did was take a couple of passes real low, right in front of us, teasing right up to but not quite passing the speed of sound, so that he made a series of big, cottony vapor balls out of thin air.

I like to died of awesome on the spot.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 6:39 pm

Heh. But Brad, those two are French. They’re trying too hard to look stylish for the cockpit camera. πŸ˜‰

Man, that thing where it looks like they throw forward and lose control of the plane and it tumbles ass over teakettle…all the acrobats did that, and it’s just stunning to see.

But my heart is still with the milporn.

My parents gave each other flying lessons as a wedding present. They both made it all the way through, but only my dad completed a solo flight. My mother declined.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 7:02 pm

Another good view of French military technology πŸ™‚


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 30, 2008, 7:41 pm

Dunno what it was about the late 1950s and early 1960s, but something possessed American engineers and designers that led to the creation of some of the most astonishing machines ever built. US aircraft of that era – even , no, maybe specifically some of the ‘failures’ like the Valkyrie or the big Martin jet-powered flying boat, must rank up alongside the Wonders of the World.

Growing up in England, glimpses of America’s best aircraft were few but not as rare as they are today. As a child, I used to holiday not far from an English East Coast US air base and this young badger’s favourite beach activity wasn’t building sand castles, it was goggling as Thunderchiefs and Voodoos shook the sand out of your shoes, when they steamed out over the North Sea, in search of Boris

Not that the bear is any slouch, either. If aerobatics is your thing, the Yaks and Sukhois have that activity completely sewn-up. Seeing a Sukhoi just… hanging there… arse-down… gently rotating at 1,000 feet as its ginormous bloody motor holds it there with unimaginable torque, apparently defying gravity, is a sight you will never forget.

Unless you vote Greenpeace, of course. In which case, Beware Of Badgers.

Yeah, the Weasel’s right: F-18s are kewl. But they’re not even half as kewl as a Republic Thunderjet or a McDonnell Voodoo, or a Delta Dagger – for reasons which only lovers of Rock-Ola jukeboxes will ever understand.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 7:53 pm

Well, I don’t know that I would call the XB-70 Valkyre a failure, it was an astounding airplane that didn’t take into account advances in surface to air missiles coming into production. It would have been a viable plane for some years, especially with the advances in ECM the west was making.

I think it would have been an amazing aircraft in service, just like the B-58 Hustler was. The Airforce just decided to switch to nap of the earth flying, which the Valkyre was unable to do……

Comment from MCPO Airdale
Time: June 30, 2008, 8:13 pm

When I was somebody important, I was pleased to host the Blue Angels at Naval Station Norfolk. The F/A-18 Hornet is the fleet workhorse and, with the exception of a limited fuel load, is a great jet.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 30, 2008, 8:19 pm

Oh, certainly, Scubafreak – that’s why I put ‘failure’ in quotes. The Valkyre was an astonishing machine.

And just don’t get me started on Hustlers…

That’s what I mean about That Era.

Comment from nicole
Time: June 30, 2008, 8:52 pm

I love airshows. Jets are cool, but my heart has always belonged to prop planes. I grew up in an aviating family as well. My dad, grandpa and uncle restored planes for a hobby. They would restore one, fly it to some shows for awhile, trade it for another project and fly the new project home with duct tape holding the wings together most times. Family and friends would fly in on the weekends to visit. It was a regular farm chore to take the big concrete roller and flatten the runway. And no July 4th was complete without airplane rides. πŸ™‚

I kick myself now for never learning to fly when it would basically have been free. I guess we always take for granted what is in front of us, hm?

I’ll never forget the day they read a book and taught themselves how to loop and hammerhead the Stearman. Mom & Grandma just about had kittens.

Aerobatic pilot was one of my top career choices growing up. Vanished somewhere in all the teen angst, I guess. πŸ™‚

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 8:59 pm

Nicole! Uncle B and I just had a loud, animated, happy conversation about prop planes and the awesomeness thereof. Also, the appropriateness thereof in an age when our guys try to smoke vermin out of Tora Bora.

Why aren’t we designing and building more of these? As triumphant as jet fighters are, good ol’ WWII tech seems better suited to the asymmetrical war we’re fighting right now.

Dammit, why don’t they draft art school dropouts to serious war strategy positions?!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 30, 2008, 9:01 pm

Nicole.. that is just…


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2008, 9:12 pm

Heh. Nicole? I think you just pole-axed Uncle B.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 30, 2008, 9:18 pm

It’s true. For a creature wot lives underground, The Badger does have that flying thing .

Shame I can’t stand heights.

Comment from XBradTC
Time: June 30, 2008, 9:56 pm

Weas, I suspect by WW2 planes you mean something like this
Well, the replacement for that is:


As a former grunt, I’ll take option one for airshows and option two for fighting.

Comment from Nicole
Time: June 30, 2008, 10:47 pm

Just now had time to browse the pix. Very cool. I may have to rethink what I am doing on the 4th. I tend to stay away from crowds these days but I haven’t been to an airshow in years…I’m sure there is one around.

I’ll have to send the truck video link to my brother. He is way into semi trucks doing things they shouldn’t. πŸ˜›

Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 10:57 pm

Speaking of warbirds, here’s the one I’D like to go see…


They also have a museum in Pueblo Colorado that has a fully intact B-29.

Comment from kishnevi
Time: June 30, 2008, 11:27 pm

Used to like air shows, until I lived in Miami Lakes which put me within walking distance of the Opa Locka Naval Station (I think–too lazy to doublecheck) which held one annually, with the prime attraction being the Blue Angels. This may sound like a wonderful opportunity, but unfortunately my apartment was directly under the flight path the BAs used for their acrobatics. And I do mean directly under. And of course they practice for several days beforehand. Migraine level headaches for the better part of a week is not the way to please Kishnevi. The last year I finally got smart and went on vacation for that week.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 30, 2008, 11:42 pm

I actually live about 15 minutes south of the Air Force Academy, so we get to see the Air Force out playing anytime they have something going on. We see B-1’s, B-52’s, F-15’s and 16’s, and even C-17’s all the time. We also get to see Navy and Marine aircraft coming and going on cross-country flights at least once a week…..

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: July 1, 2008, 9:00 am

Weas, on the airshow website they have pictures of the F-22. Did they have one there when you went? I’ve seen video* of it doing vector-thrusting aerobatics, which would’ve been easy to film/photograph, I imagine. I love the F-22 because it’s so advanced, but also because it makes the ‘Z0mG tEh mIliTarY-iNdustriaL coMplEXz!!1!LOL’ crowd shit in their britches.

Also on the website they have the A-10 (did you see that?). I like it because it’s fucking ugly, but oh-so deadly and it has a thoroughly unique engine note. Also it makes me sad that the bad guys don’t get to hear the farty noise of the GAU-8 Avenger firing before they get simultaneously irradiated and turned into red mist.

Sadly, the planes on the ground were covered in children

I heard that if you soak a few cigarette butts in water overnight and spray the resulting liquid on them, it’s soon clears up the problem. Or maybe it was aphids. Eh, either way, it’s worth a shot, right?

* On YouTube, the F-22 videos are full of Russians telling everyone how shit the F-22 is compared to some theoretical or prototypical – of which only one exists – Russian warbird. It’s pretty sad. Kind of makes you wish the Cold War was still going on so they’d have something to do.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 1, 2008, 9:14 am

I don’t think so, Gibby, unless they just did a quick flyover the way the B-2 did. I was there from opening to closing and the only military jets that put on a show were the Horner and the Harrier.

Comment from Jill
Time: July 1, 2008, 9:44 am

My uncle flew P-47s and P-39s, and my cousin flew B-25s during The Big One. When they were in their early teens, my dad and my uncle started to build an airplane in our basement. They kinda sorta didn’t take into account the whole ‘wingspan’ issue.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: July 1, 2008, 11:13 am

Apropos to nothing, I put up a punny post for you language mavens:

I was half an hour late to work today because I spent half an hour in the morning puttering around the ‘Net reading about these cool planes and watching videos of them.

The B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk are teh awesome in appearance. (I’m impressed I remember these names as I usually know nothing about milpr0n. But, oh. These are so cool.)

Comment from Gnus
Time: July 1, 2008, 11:40 am

I’m about half way between Eglin and Tyndall, so I get to see lots of F-15s and lately F-22s. Eglin’s test range is just across the bay and when they practice with missles, etc., it shakes the whole house. Which is kinda cool.

Plus, ya never know what else will show up. Combat Talons, etc. A-10s once in a while.

And once, at the beach, I was stalked from behind by an Apache. I didn’t hear a damned thing until it was about even with me and maybe 50 yards away. Sneaky, they are. When the pilot turned his head to look directly at me, the gatling gun under the chin of the chopper turned too. I knew he wasn’t gonna shoot, but it still gave me the chills. I’d hate to be on his shit list. πŸ™‚

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 1, 2008, 11:57 am

I got buzzed by two black helicopters once! Matte black with no insignia of any kind. I’m sure they were DEA; I was out at Mother’s farm, and the Revenuers used to do sweeps out there looking for marijuana patches and moonshine stills all the time.

I was on the cellphone talking to Uncle B, so he can vouch πŸ™‚

Comment from Princess Bernie
Time: July 1, 2008, 12:27 pm

My daddy was in on the project developing/testing the B2. he tells teh story about the Air Force sending them the call numbers/letters to afix to the plane before they rolled it out for its first test flight – you know, the ones they afix to the vertical stabilizer? HA! They looked at the plane and looked at the decals and just looked at each other with that quizzical look. What the heck are we supposed to do with these?

F18’s are the bomb. A couple of years ago I was building a Habitat for Humanity home here that was right on the approach for the air show affiliated with a huge fireworks show here that kicks of Ky Derby festival. I was up on the roof trusses, about 30 feet above ground level when the Blue Angels were doing their stint. LOUD! and they were so low that we could see the eyeballs of the pilots.

I love air shows, too. The ones at Edwards in CA were exceptionally cool.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 1, 2008, 12:40 pm

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the V-22 start making appearances. The Chinook can also be cool when the Army is taking part in the show (I love how the Brits call them ‘Wokka’s’ for the sound the blades make), and the F-35B VTOL JSF is finally flying.

I also got to see the little toy jet they used at the start of the Bond flick ‘Octopussy’ at a show in Pueblo a long time ago. Very cool…….

Comment from nbpundit
Time: July 1, 2008, 11:44 pm

Here you go:

Hat tip: reaganite

Some what to make you drool…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 2, 2008, 2:02 pm

Sorry about that, NB. You got a short trip to the filter, for some unknown reason.

On a happier note, there was a spam in there from somebody calling himself Blattyfoectat. For some reason, that name really appeals to me.

Blattyfoectat to you,
Blattyfoectat to you…

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: July 2, 2008, 8:45 pm

I was stationed at NAS Lemoore when the Navy was introducing the F-18s, and every year we had an airshow with the Blues. One year they flew their little A-4s, the next they showed up with the Hornets. Slick.

The attack guys loved the Hornet. The A-7 Corsair II was a capable attack plane, but that was it – no real ACM ability at all, in fact two high speed maneuvers in the bomb run was the limit, a third would bleed so much airspeed they’d drop out of the sky. Then they got twin engines with afterburners and super acceleration and dogfighting ability and were no longer just flying aerial dump trucks loaded with bombs. All of a sudden they became… fighter jocks.

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