Saturday, April 21, 2012

Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at Barksdale Air Force Base

We have survived the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at Barksdale Air Force Base.  

The day started out overcast and hung over from last night's soaking rain but by 11:30 this morning the skies were clear blue and we had a breezy, crisp day with temps that never broke 70 (I don't think).

Barksdale has been doing this air show thing for so long now they have got it down to a science.  They do a great job getting the masses of people on and off base and corralled into the areas where they ought to be - and NO WHERE ELSE.

We arrived around noon and it wasn't long before we met up with friends:

That's my buddy Rose in the driver's seat.  I taught one of her sons several years ago; she has two wonderful boys who are serving their country right now and she's very proud of them both.  Rightly so.

We also met up with our friend Joy (left) who is our regular "bar guard" and good friend who keeps everyone at Hangar 2 in line:

Joy has a heart of gold and I know that's a cliche, but she really does.  She takes care of her "GI"'s and would do anything in the world for you.

After we got our beer and hot dogs it was time to walk around and look at planes.  Well, not planes yet; we started with vintage Jeeps:

This is a far cry from my Jeep:

...but I'm rather partial to that machine gun.  Road rage would have no limits.

There was a fly-by demo with a bomb drop simulation.  I missed the great fire shot but I managed to get the smoke:

That one included lots of loud booming noises.

This is the B-25 "Mitchell" named "The Yellow Rose":

I'm developing an affinity for airplane nose art.  With all the vintage planes we've seen over the years, I'm developing quite a collection of nose art photos:

We got to look inside the belly of a B52 at the landing gear; I can't imagine how those guys keep all these wires and cables straight.  Amazing:

Meanwhile, the Black Diamond Jet Team was performing.  For better pictures of all that you have to go to the professionals.  The Shreveport Times has two great photo galleries here and here.

I love the B52.  You just can't get the scope of this plane in a photograph - it's just huge.  HUGE:

More Black Diamond:

Back to nose art, here's an AC47, "Spooky":

Here's the nose art:

And look what's waiting to take off:

Is that not beautiful?!  And look at this:

The B52s!  RAWR!  Lined up in a row.  Love it.

For a few dollars you could get your picture taken in (part) of an A7 Corsair II and guess who had a few dollars?

Boys will be boys.  The nose art was cool:

Here's a mean looking chopper:

Another of my favorite planes is the F4, mostly because it makes GREAT jet noise.  This is a lame clip but I just love jet noise:

I saw several signs like this...:

...but really, I love jet noise.  The louder the better.

One of the best parts of the day, to me, was the Heritage Flight.  The F4 and the P47 joined up and did a flyby together: the old and the new.  My dad flew P47s and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have real lump in my throat and a tear behind my sunglasses when those two planes came by.  I couldn't talk for a minute or two.  I totally felt my dad's presence there.  He would have loved it.

The P47:

Well, then The Thunderbirds were up and I quit taking pictures.  I got one, but then I just had my eyes in the sky.

It was a glorious day and a huge kudos to Barksdale AFB for the great job they do every year in putting this  together.  There was a huge crowd there today but everyone got in and out without any major problems.

One day I'm going to go out there and just do a post on Air Show Fashion.  I will never figure out why someone would wear spandex pants and spike heels to walk two miles down a flight line.  But I saw 'em.  I saw a girl in a short dress and 3" wedge heels, too.  Go figure.  Mummus, tank tops, blue jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and puffy jackets.  I saw it all today.

But, the highlight was the airplanes and if you missed the show today, they'll do it all over again tomorrow!

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