Miramar Air Show 2010
November 25, 2010 by Bryan
Thunder storms off the coast subside to reveal the quiet entrance of thousands of cars. The hustle of packing everything and moving it over the trek to the destination. Kids, chairs, umbrellas, LOTS of cameras. The silence of the morning is contrasted with the obvious drive in everybody to get where they are going. The sun breaks the sky and the Air Show Starts!
The show starts with R/C planes flying off in the distance. There are highly maneuverable and from some of the photos can be confused with the real thing. Our vantage point only allows us glimpses of these planes so we wait and apply sun screen in preparation for the long day. Soon the wait is rewarded with the morning performance of Sean Tucker in the Oracle Challenger III. During this performance Sean will perform tricks that no other performer can replicate. He also pulls the most negative-g maneuvers I have seen. Sean can put the plane in a hover, fly it backwards, do a myriad of other things that boggle the mind. The air show is worth it just to see him perform.
The next aircraft to perform was a stand in since one of the AT-6 planes had mechanical problems. So instead the audience got to see the slowest plane at the air show, an Antonov An-2 biplane. This plane is massive for a single engine aircraft and yet it can take off from distance as short as 170 meters (558 feet). The design is old but it continues to be produced in some countries even today because it is reliable and safe.
The very next powered craft to fly was John Collver in his “Wardog” AT-6 “Texan”. The AT-6 was used as a trainer and so John flies in the smooth and simple maneuvers that pilots would have learned back when this airplane was used. The AT-6 is massive and powerful for a single engine trainer.
The show turns a page and the military exhibitions begin with the afternoon portion of the show. In quick succession the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team take flight along with a whole slew of military aircraft from Cobras to Osprey to Falcons and Hornets. These all fly off and the Golden Knights parachute out while the National Anthem plays. The last jumper has the American Flag flying off of the back of his parachute. Immediately after he lands, the most exciting part of the air show gets under way; MAGTF!
The Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration shows in quick succession a coordinated air and land effort to take an important strategical asset. AV-8B Harriers do mock strafing runs while F/A 18 F Super Hornets go on mock bombing runs. UH-1 Huey helicopters bring in ground troops to fast rope in and secure the landing zone. MV-22 Osprey fly in using airplane mode for quick arrival and then transition to helicopter mode to drop off their troops. AH-1Z Cobras secure the area for the ground troops while CH-53E Super Stallions air drop light vehicles in the distance. Soon after the armored vehicles arrive including armored personnel carriers and M1A2 Main Battle Tanks. The whole time the ground troops seek cover and cover each other’s movements as they advance. The Hornets and Harriers fly by doing a mock mid-air refueling run. Finally the troops reach the stands and the demonstration is over.
The tanks and the troops travel along the flight line to leave and shake the hands of the audience on the way. That concludes MAGTF! Next up the Super Hornet does a legacy flight with an F4U corsair. After that Sean Tucker performs again is his Oracle Challenger III. Then the audience gets to see a Semi-Truck tractor fitted with a jet engine on the back do afterburner runs down the runway. They call this Shockey’s “ShockWave” Jet Truck. Then the same AV-8B Harrier which was in the MAGTF demonstrates vertical landing and take off.
Second only to the MAGTF demonstration in excitement is the demonstration which comes up next. This is of course the F-22 Raptor; the premier air superiority fighter in the world. The F-22 demonstrates its unclassified maneuvers for the audience like low altitude recovery from a complete stall, flying with a negative air speed (flying backwards), power loops, and turns in a radius that outclasses any other fighter at the show. Because the F-22 has thrust vectoring, it can fly with an angle of attack higher then even the Super Hornet and turn tighter as well as achieve Supercruise speeds of breaking the sound barrier without using afterburners.
While the Raptor stayed in the air it was joined by an F-16 and a P-51 Mustang for a legacy flight. This provided excellent photo opportunities to the crowd below as they all had to fly at the speed of the Mustang.
The afternoon show finished out with a demo by the Red Bull Helo which can fly upside down in loops and the Canadian Snow Birds which do just about every formation flying trick that the Blue Angels do. The last performers of the afternoon were of course the Blue Angels who make their flights always appear completely effortless while flying in ridiculously close proximity to each other. All in all it was a good day and worth it if you can ever make it out.
To see more photos from the 2010 Miramar Air Show check out our Zenfolio Gallery. http://shezphoto.zenfolio.com/p289669307