head in the clouds. That is how I felt when we went to the Arctic Lightning Airshow at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks AK Saturday the 13th https://www.eielson.af.mil/ArcticLightningAirshow/. We got up early for us to head out to the base beat traffic. You can see the vendor tents and people moving around here This was a good thing because the amount of people who were stuck in traffic at the start of the show was amazing. Front row parking and basic front and center on the bleachers for the airshow. Sitting front and center allowed me to wave to the pilots as they did a slow roll down the runway.
The static displays had helicopters, fighting vehicles , the warthog (also known as Thunderbolt II), and a B52. Also on the ground was a plane that could carry large tanks in their belly.
The same plane also doubled as the best seat in the house for these Airmen earlier in the day. I do not know how they got on the tail section but I bet they enjoyed themselves.
I did not see the Air Force’s flying gas station a KC-135 Stratotanker on the ground. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_KC-135_Stratotanker I did see it participating in the simulated war game refueling planes in the air.
The first plane up in the air was the F-16, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16_Fighting_Falcon I did realize trying to take pictures of these jets is like trying to take in focus pictures of birds in flight only on steroids. I am also glad that earplugs were being given out for free. (I forgot how loud planes can be).
The treat of the afternoon was being able to have a demonstration of the F-35 fighter jet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II The treat I had when watching this plane do the climbs and dives I was able to catch the wave of sound right before it would have broken the sound barrier, this link explains what happens. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-happens-when-an-airc/
This jet will have a home here at Eielson AFB in the near future https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/06/02/alaska-communities-prepare-for-incoming-f-35-squadrons-at-eielson-air-force-base/ I was amazed with how impressive this new jet fighter is, the announcer said we saw everything the jet has to offer except it’s fire power.
After seeing the new we experienced the old.
Next up a T-33 subsonic jet trainer. One of my thoughts after seeing the speed of the F-16 and the F-35 is wow how slow is that plane moving.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_T-33 It may be old but it can still climb with the best of them.
Finishing up the day the Air Force joined with the Army to show how both branches work together to retake an airfield when they can’t go in and just bomb it out of existence. The team work is done to minimize collateral damage. Air support makes it safe for the ground forces to capture the rocket launcher held be insurgents, a bomb tech also was needed to clear any booby traps to make it safe.
The whole day turned out to be relaxing and exciting at the same time. I am glad I was able to get a glimpse into the power that is at the hands of our military in the event of an attack.