Airfest Air Show from Mac Dill Air Force Base [in pictures]

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The crowd was as thick as fleas, packing in even as the gates opened with tens of thousands of spectators hoping to catch a glimpse at a piece of flying history or the boom of a modern fighter going supersonic.


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Amongst the standing exhibits were a series of bombers and support planes that the military currently sues. You could stand in line to take a full in-and-out tour of a few of them, though I chose to avoid that mess and wait for the aviary showpieces.


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At about 11AM, the first big bomber/refueler made a pass. It was a lot louder than I remember from my previous experience with low flying jets, though it was more than made up for in "cool points" by watching the fuel rail descending far behind the plane. I would have loved to see an actual refueling take place mid-flight, but they would not have had the airspace to do this while being at all practical for those of us on the ground.


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Following the bomber's run, a series of older prop planes made passes. Around noon, the show heated up with an A-10 Thunderbolt and a trio of planes from the last 60 years of flight in formation. It was really a neat sight to behold, especially for a plane enthusiast like myself.


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I opted to duck out around 1:00, as I had other things to do. Of course, this would never go as planned. The problem with having thousands of people in one place is that you easily lose your vehicle. After 40 minutes of walking, myself and a band of other lost souls eventually found my car and used it to round up their cars. While this was happening, planes continued to fly overhead and the cheers of the crowd could be hear a quarter mile away.


Leaving the airshow was a challenge as well. The outgoing traffic was at a dead stop for several minutes at a time as military personnel waved up through. This is really something you'll want to make an all day event of in 2010, as trying to get in or out quickly is impossible.


Additional Photos I took can be found here:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/denisbaldwin/sets/72157616125083734/


In addition, here are a few photos taken by my friend, Andrew Cooke SSgt USAF:


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Here's some images of the event from George at BrassBowl.net:


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I could probably sum up my entire day at the AirFest air show at Mac Dill Air Force Base in just three words: "America, Fuck Yeah." Never have I seen such blatant nationalism, mixing the chauvinistic strut and machismo of the modern military industrial complex with the power and beautiful of well engineered aircraft both of current militia and of days gone past.

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