June 24, 2008

Not exactly a Prius

Shockwave, the jet-powered semi tractor. That pretty much says it all.

But then of course they added the capacity to shoot flames out the stacks and out the rear about 150 feet, and what you have is essentially a high-tech way to burn as much kerosene possible in the shortest amount of time.

Shockwave does these fuel dump/booming things creating an enormous noise and more smoke than Patty and Selma and Cheech & Chong 5000 times over. They also shoot an enormous plume of flame out the back of the jet engines. (You can see the flames as they approach the far end of the runway. Though it's poor quality, I posted clip of this last year that shows it a bit better. There' also better clips of it on YouTube.)

The act is that after going back and forth on the runway making as much noise, smoke, and flame as possible (The only three things that draw crowds better than free chicken and beer.), Shockwave sets up at one end of the runway as a plane swoops down from behind and then the truck "races" the plane down the runway.

Here's Shockwave, with three jet engines from Navy fighters mounted on the back, doing a little warm up run against Mike Wiskus in his Pitts Special aerobatic plane.

And here it is doing a full run.

Side note: I was lucky enough to get to park directly in front of the terminal, making it only a few steps to the show, but of course, close going in is far going out, and it was slow going creeping along after the show.

As I was sitting in line, I felt this vibration... like boom, boom, boom, like when one of those idiots with a cheap old car and a 2000 watt stereo pulls up next to you with the bass jacked to the wall, rattling every loose nut and bolt in their car until the vibrating tin is louder than the bass. (I'm always waiting for a fender or bumper to just fall off on to the pavement.)

I didn't think anything of it, but looked in my mirrors to see if I could see anything. Nope. Then it came again, three or four times. Now I knew I wasn't imagining things, and I could feel it, I could hear my trunk vibrating as if someone were pounding on it hard.

But no one was there! I'm looking all over and then it happened again. Did I leave something on top of my car? Was someone trying to get my attention? Did some maniac on PCP want a lift home? What??!! But there was no one there.

Then it finally dawned on me. It was Shockwave doing those fuel dumps or whatever it is that causes those explosive booms that you see at the beginning of the clip. For some reason, they must have decided to do a little show after the main show was over.

It's hard to describe how deep and resonating they are, but it goes right through you. And it was deep and powerful enough to sound like someone beating on my car, even from several hundred feet away,


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