Constructive Creativity

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Indianapolis Regional Air Show

I just noticed its been about two years since I posted in my blog! Well then, I guess I am way overdue for posting something new! ;)

I went to our local air show a few weeks ago and took some pictures that I would like to share with you. The U.S. Navy's flying team, called The Blue Angels, were supposed to fly each of the three days of the air show. I was really looking forward to seeing them fly! I had seen them twice before many years ago. Unfortunately, the day I went to the show, the last of the three days, there was some rain and very low clouds, so most of the show was canceled. Still there were interesting things to see and people to talk to. :)

There were some old planes from WWII parked for display. Had the weather been better, these planes would have taken to the air! One that I really liked was the Corsair. These were fighter planes that were flown by Navy and Marine Corp pilots. They are the same planes that were flown by the famous squadron called The Black Sheep, lead by their legendary commanding officer Pappy Boyington. The Black Sheep gained additional fame in the 1970's from the TV show about them called Baa Baa Black Sheep (later, the show was renamed Black Sheep Squadron). I used to love that show! Here is a pic of the Corsair (click on the pic to see it full size):

The second plane from WWII, I think is called an Avenger (at least, it looks a lot like one). These planes (and also the Corsairs) were commonly flown off of aircraft carriers. To save space on the deck of the carrier, the Avenger's wings would fold back to the sides. At the air show, I watched as the wings of the Avenger were folded back (Corsair wings folded up). That was neat to see! The picture I took was, as you can see, before the wings were folded (should have taken one after!):

Another very interesting plane was a really old Wright Flyer dating from the early 1900's. It was built a few years after the Wright brother's famous first flight. This plane was much advanced over their original design. This one had twin pusher props (propellers), wing flaps, and a functional tail with flaps. This plane was capable of extended flight time high in the air. The first Wright plane didn't have a proper tail, and they steered by warping the wings. It was really a dangerous design, and one of the brother's had a very bad crash in it sometime after their first flight. Here are two pics showing the old Flyer and also a close-up of the information card on one of its wings:

One thing that I really enjoyed was talking to the crew of a restored Vietnam era Huey helicopter. In Vietnam, these copters were often fitted out as gun ships. However, this one was restored for use as an air ambulance. The crew hoped that they would be able to fly real missions transporting injured people to a hospital at some point in the future. I asked the pilot about the fuel cost to fly the Huey. He said it burned 90 gallons of aviation fuel per hour. At $7.00 per gallon, that would add up to $630 per hour! The pilot said later that afternoon, weather permitting, they would try to fly around some. I was very pleased that the weather did permit! :)

The Huey in flight is really something to see and hear! I was amazed in the difference in sound as the helicopter flew in different directions. Flying away from me, I could barely hear it. However, flying toward me, it was incredibly loud, even from a far distance. I asked one of the airport officials, who happened to be standing next to me watching the Huey fly, about the difference in sound. He said it had to do with the angle of the helicopter blades relative to the direction it was traveling. I had never thought about that, but it made sense. The blades are really chopping up the air as they spin. Sound waves are created as the blades disturb the air, and the waves move in certain directions relative to the blades. Here is a pic of the Huey in flight:

There was another, much bigger helicopter there. It was an active duty Army Blackhawk fitted out as an air ambulance. I talked to a couple of crew members. One told me it had flown in Iraq a year ago. It was really cool to stand next to a machine and crew members that had probably helped to save many soldier's lives! I also got to see the Blackhawk take off a while later. As an added treat, the Huey took off for a second time and flew around the airport with the Blackhawk. :) Here are three pics of the Blackhawk, on the ground, preparing to take off, and in the air:

There were a couple of small FedEx planes at the show. I had a chat with one of the crew. He was a package handler. He told me about how they sort the packages at one of their regional hubs. They have a few hours each night to sort hundreds of thousands of packages and get them on the right planes for next day delivery. Those folks really have to hustle! I watched both the FedEx planes take off a bit later. They had deliveries to make! Here is a pic of one of the planes being towed to the runway:

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my new post. I went to the zoo more recently. I'll try to post some pics from there soon. :)