June 2, 2007

Wild and Crazy Guys (and a girl, too.)

Took in the Davenport Air Show today.... went with a raincoat and ended up with a sunburn.... but I guess that's not bad.

Lots to see, and a pretty good show, heavy on sentimental patriotism smothered on with a trowel, but... hey, that's what we pay tens of millions of dollars to maintain the military show teams for I guess... recruiting and psy-ops. Just struck me as a bit odd creating a reverent almost religious tone to honoring those who bravely lost their lives while in the pursuit of killing a lot of people from other countries that I guess just don't really count. And of course, in the countries where our sainted war heroes bombed and strafed and killed thousands of their people, both soldiers and vast numbers of civilians, they're probably over there doing the same thing.... making heroes out of people who got killed trying their best to kill others, usually without having to so much as see their victims as they rain sudden and often random death from thousands of feet up. Seems odd. Must be just me.

But the show was good in a uniquely American way... obscene amounts of fossil fuel burned in stunning quantities all to make a lot of smoke, fire, and noise. Raw power baby... all provided for our amusement.

And the precision, professionalism, guts, and skill shown by the pilots was truly what made the displays so remarkable, and of course, the almost science fiction level of power, capability, and performance of the planes themselves.

It's very much true that killing people from other countries has probably been the single greatest impetus in advancing technology, The amazing military aircraft probably being one of the most prominent examples, but that's probably because much of the wealth ever created in history has been spent (and much of it wasted) on the pursuit of new and improved ways to kill the enemy of the day.

Below is a shot of the second time in the afternoon that a parachutist (or I guess they're now paragliders) made their jump trailing a large flag. ( And the Flying Elivis' parachute team were there too, though I think it should more properly be the Flying Elvi, right?)

The title of this post refers to the very cool fact that one of the USAF Thunderbird team was female, a very encouraging sign that we're entering the 20th century. (that's not a typo)

Here she is getting a better look at the ground by streaking by inverted.

I took close to 300 pictures so I'll just post a few to start. I also have nearly 30 video clips, any decent ones I might upload to youtube so you can take a look if you'd like. Just depends on if I can find the time.

The guy below is a fearless and incredibly talented individual. He's also straight up nuts. Anyone that does what he does, and there were three there today, has got to be a special kind of insane. If you've seen them in action, you know what I mean.

Note the Arabic writing on his plane. Some of my readers will be shocked that he didn't drop a dirty bomb on their homes, no doubt. I'm sure the script would be enough for them to view him with fear. Relax... Bush wanted to hand Arabs the contract for security at our major ports. How bad can they be? I guess it's only multi-millionaire Arabs that are cool. But I digress.

His name is Jurgis Kairys, and he's Lithuanian. He's suiting up and about to strap himself into his Extra 300 unlimited aerobatics plane. By all means, check out his web site, and be sure to click the link and watch the clip of him flying under a bridge inverted. I'm sure it must be in Lithuania or somewhere besides the U.S., because he'd never get permission to do something like that here I don't imagine.

Here's a shot of him doing one of the about 200 maneuvers in his routine. The smoke trail shows his path. You don't normally think of planes making right angle turns in mid-air, but these guys did.

And here's the friendly looking tail end of a A-10 Warthog. But they're not that friendly at all, since they can carry millions of dollars worth of killing devices, including the Gatling gun mounted in the nose.

The Warthog


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