Monday, April 10, 2006

Sun 'n Fun 2006 - After Action Report

Well, it's over today. Yep, the 2006 Sun n' Fun Fly In is seeing the last people leave today.

Here's a quick outbrief, but not with pictures of the actual event...those come tonight.

On Thursday evening, I drove Jim, Sr. (Valiant Glider Pilot of who flew under the Eiffel Tower fame) (the link is to part 1 of three...links to all parts of the antics of Jim and his glider buddies contained therein), to have dinner with those of the Stinson aircraft type (for he flew a Stinson L-5 under the tower).

They were not only gracious, and, having established earlier contact, had name tags for the two of us, and then proceeded to eat BBQ, and listen to Jim's tales of days gone by with great interest.

Due to other scheduling issues, we didn't get back to the Fly In until Sunday afternoon. We wandered about, found an SNV aircraft, which Jim referred to as the Vultee "Vibrator." They went from 120 HP Stearman trainers, to the 450HP Vultees.

I went off to see the F-22 Raptors and Jim got talking to another gentleman, who turns out, flew from the same field as Jim, only a year apart. They did a little reminiscing.

I got my 6 o'clock shot (yep, static, but I can't afford the gas bill to chase one) of the F-22, as a follow on to this post over at Neptunus Lex.

We wandered among the many palnes of various ages, me finding a Twin Beech, with a passenger door, which conjured up memories of jumping at Covington, LA in 1980 from said equipped aircraft. It's amazing how 10 people could actually build formations from those without being spread across two counties on exit. I got my SCR, with the jumpers there building an "8 Way" around me. Saw a C-47 (jumped one of those at Perris Valley), and then a few T-34Bs.

The "Legacy Fly By" was to be a TF-51, and F-15, and the F-22. I got a good spot by the fence and waited for the take off. Due to low clouds, they could only hot dog so much, but the F-22 didn't use a lot of runway. Next the F-15 made a bunch of passes, having to go to burner a lot, but a great low altitude presentation. To the south, the F-22 played about, just under the clouds about 2000', doing Cobra manevuers, until the TF-51 joined with him. Then the fun began.

The two aircraft commenced to do a little "DACT" (dis-similar air combat training). The F-51 turned some tight circles, with the F-22 matching him in speed and turn diameter. Impressive for a large jet to do that. The, the LtCol must have gotten bored, for on about the 10th circle, he vetored thrust and functionally cut across the circle on a spoke thru the middle and quickly joined on the wing of the TF-51, while the prop plane was still in the same turn. That's impressive to watch!

The F-15 finished it's passes and then joined the two other aircraft to make a three ship formation. From there, they conducted two "Heritage" passes, the TF-51 in the lead, the Eagle to port and Raptor to starboard. I did get a vido of the first fly by, without framing my subjects well....gotta love new equipment.

Next the Raptor pilot did his passes, most of the time without his afterburners on, and was just as impressive as the Eagle. Then he came in low and vectored the thrust to begin a vertical climb. It looked like someone grabbed the nose and shoved the tail underneath to get vertical. I'd not like to be on the business end of that maneuver.

Ok, I'll try to get the pictures up tonight. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

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