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Tora! Tora!! Tora!!!

October 18, 2009 Events, Living No Comments

I went to the Open House and Air Show at Edwards Air Force Base with my pops. Other than the awesome planes and aerobatics on display, it was good father and son bonding.

I haven’t been to a really good air show since I was a little kid and wore overalls. These things used to be regular family outtings. While my pops took film pictures of airplanes with his SLR, my mom carry the provisions, my younger brother and i would pretend to be fighter pilots like in Top Gun; I, Maverick and my brother, Iceman. That’s right! 

My pops has a huge fascination with military and defense-related stuff. He’s really like a military encyclopedia. He knows so much about fighter jets, missiles, rockets, guns, and bombers. Just glancing at a silhouette, he could tell you the name of the plane, who made them, how old it is, what military branch and war they were part of, what makes them special, and sometimes, the name of the original test pilot.  This day was no exception.

Here are some of the highlights and knowledge learned:

Nice morning ride in the convertible. Edwards Air Force base is built over a dry lake bed; its flat surface makes it ideal as an airplane runway.

We showed up around mid-day, with the show well underway. Huge C-17 circling around for the crowd. Its big size gives it away as a cargo plane with the ability to carry massive amounts of stuff.


Along the route to the parking lot, saw some historic airlanes. The F-4 Phantom was one of my favorites growing up; it still looks pretty bad ass. They also had a rare, 2-person YA-10. Y stands for experimental. Normal A-10s seat only one.

Walking from the parking lot to the main hangar (1.4 miles one way), the B-2 Bomber took flight. It was a really quiet plane; reminded me of the Audi R10 TDI Le Mans Protype race car. I expected it to be loud and obnoxious, but instead it emitted a sexy purrrrrr.

One of the main attractions of the static display was this badboy, the F-35 Lightning II. There are currently 3 variants of this aircraft that allow for different kinds of take-offs, with the short-takeoff/vertical, Harrier-like one being my favorite. This jet fighter is pretty badass. It looks fierce, and as part of the Joint Strike Fighter Program, you know it’s got the latest in technology.

While inside checking out the other displays, I was drawn to the noise outside.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

One of the main attractions to this year’s air show, was the Commemorative Air Force’s recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that signaled the beginning of the American Involvement in World War II.

This show was amazing! Airplane noises, bombs blowing up, fire, and plumes of smoke everywhere. It really felt like a movie come to life.

Back to the static displays, some of my favorites include…

The White Knight. It is a carrier plane that takes stuff way up in the air. Its wings were designed to make use of and benefit from laminar flow, making it very aerodynamic. It was used to launch SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X Prize.

The SR-71 Blackbird. An oldie, but a goodie. This spy plane is a lot smaller than what I had remember. Still a sleek looking plane. One of my favorite toys as a kid was  the Cobra Raven, a G.I. Joe toy that was inspired by this aircraft. 

While outside, saw another awesome  demo from the F-22 Raptor. The pilot performed some crazy maneuvers, including taking it up a 90 degree vertical and crowd-pleasing looptiy loops. It ranked high up there as the Tora Tora Tora show. My pops even had a Paris Hilton moment and concluded, “That’s hot.”

The show later ended with various aircrafts flying together in formation.

When everything was over, it was time to go home. Leaving Edwards Air Force Base was a freaking nightmare. It took us two hours to get out of the parking lot. I assume that the organizers didn’t anticipate such a large attendance. Oh well.

When we finally made it to the exit on the north side, we headed west, and caught this picturesque scene.

10 miles or so later, we found out that if we wanted to go home, we needed to head east. =X

Just for completeness, here is an advertisement for the show. It gives a pretty good sense of the atmosphere.

This was fun. Until next time, Cheers!

Tora! Tora! Tora!
Edwards Air Force Base

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