Sunday, February 26, 2006


The 2006 Yuma Air Show

I did manage to get up early yesterday and drove to the 2006 Yuma Air Show. This was the 44th show and is quite a crowd draw every year. Annie & I were here last year during this event but we were concerned that it might be too much "going" for Annie so we didn't attend. My cousin had told me to get there early if I wanted to get right up on the flight line with the aircraft as it fills up fast. It opened at 8 and I was there about 08:10. You can get a good view of the aerial events from the Yuma County Fairgrounds, across Business 8 from the airfield.

Here is a photo showing the general feeling of the place early in the day, shortly after 9:
Air show 1

The first of the main events was at 10 and featured the US Army Golden Knights precision parachute team. You will need to have the latest version of Macromedia's Flash Player installed to run this but it will give you an option to do that if you don't already have it. These people are awesome to watch! They jump out of a perfectly good airplane at an altitude of 12,500 feet, then free fall to 4,000 feet, reaching a terminal speed of 120 mph, before opening their chutes. The parachutes are a specially designed unit that can be flown, sort of like an airplane. They pull on the left control to turn left, the right one for right and both as they land to just drop. The first out was a single team member who arrived flying the US flag. This was the 675th jump for this team member but his first in an air show:
Air show 2

The group comes out of the plane, then joins up in a formation. They each have a smoke canister attached to an ankle so they can be seen while still too high to pick out them individually. A photographer goes along on each jump and he/she circles the group, without smoke, taking photos. As they approach the chute opening altitude the group "flies" apart and leaves some intricate smoke trails in the sky:
Air show 3

This tandem team is intentional. They have a way that one member can control both chutes. They will split apart just before their landing. This flag is the MIA flag in honor of those missing in action:
Air show 4

Here is a team member approaching a landing, right on the mark. The target is the small flag on the fiberglas pole, which also shows them the wind behavior at ground level. You can see the smoke device on the right ankle:
Air show 5

The photographer is the last to land and you can see the different helmet that contains the camera:
Air show 6

This group winters at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground, about 20 miles north of town. The public is welcome to stop and watch them during their practice sessions. I think the link to their web site has more on dates and time of day for these sessions.

There were flights by many aircraft, both military and civilian. These four are three Chinese and one Russian prop driven planes, flying in formation over the field. FAA rules create a "box" in the air where they are allowed to perform. That box must keep them at least 500 feet from spectators for propeller driven aircraft and 1500 feet away for jet powered ones. Sights like this can easily be seen from over along the highway at the fairgrounds, where you can sit in your car if you want to. There were a lot of people over there, too:
Air show 7

This is a twin jet powered US Air Force plane that is used to support troops on the ground because of it's maneuverability and the type of weapons it carries. It is an A-10 but known as a Warthog or "Tank Buster" because of it's ability to destroy heavily armored equipment like tanks. It is impressive in how it can maneuver close to the ground:
Air show 8

There were representatives there from many different agencies. This small helicopter is from the US Border Patrol and was there along with a dune buggy and other vehicles that agency operates. I talked with the pilot, shown here talking with a prospective future pilot:
Air show 9

The B-52 is an old aircraft but is still one of the mainstays of the Air Force. Have you ever been inside one? You could here but notice the loooong line on the stairs waiting for their chance. It was also nice to stand in the shade under it!
Air show 10

Here is another more current military aircraft which you could climb up to and look in the cockpit:
Air show 11

The air show was very interesting. I didn't stay for all of it as I had left my chair & camera bag in the car, a good mile + away. Of course my camera battery ran out with the spare a 3 mile round trip away, and my feet/legs were close to it. The biggest problem was that of all the vendors there, NONE sold mochas! I did buy a bottle of water for $2.50. I left about 13:30 and drove straight to Starbucks to solve the mocha problem, then home to spend some time with Huggy. In the evening I went to dinner at Applebees, then home for the rest of the evening.

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Dick-Thanks for another great post where you shared your adventures with us.
I feel as if I were right there with you, on this trip. Air shows is something
I very much enjoy and have been able to enjoy often from the time I was a child
until my adult life living in Georgia near a good air base.

So from me to you, thank you for sharing. It was a welcome trip for me. :)
Wonderful photos Dick. We were at an airshow in Moosesjaw Saskatchewan last summer, saddly we were witness to a horrific crash, 2 men died. I dont think ill ever go to another airshow.
Thanks for your comments at my site.
These are fabulous photos and thank you for sharing your day with us Dick!

I grew up an Airforce brat here in Canada, so I've been to a gazillion military airshows, and it's always been one of my favourite things. :-)
Great photos, and post, Dick. You certainly do have a talent with the camera. Most interesting information ... I felt like I was there with you. Hope Huggy enjoyed the evening with you. Take care, Meow
Hi Dick
SO !!!! where are we going to tomorrow? I love the pics and your writing makes it easy to follow what is going on , just like we are in the back seat, so thanks:-)and thanks for the help on my blog,you are so sweet! rub Huggy behind the ears for me and take care of yourself out there on the great Mocha adventure tee hee
Hi Dick! Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi! I just drove by Mount Vernon tonight coming back from Stanwood from a transit meeting. We are trying to get a platform in Stanwood for the train to stop. (I am just now finishing my mocha by the way)!
I'll come back!
You are all welcome for the photos. Thank YOU for reading my blog and taking the time to leave me a comment!

oopseedaisee, I am sorry you had that bad experience at an air show. My son, M, had two fatalities involving experimental aircraft at an air show he was working his first year as a police officer that he had to deal with. It shows that while they are exciting to watch, there truly is potential danger involved.

Phyllis, please be sure to have all that "bad" weather in the NW over by the time I get home in early May. I will expect sunshine, fair skies and comfortable temperatures. You are in charge, OK?

Which of the mocha places did you use, or was it not in MtV? My favorite is the Starbucks in Haggens on East Division but that is more for the people who work there than the actual product.
I love the Golden Knights. Thanks for sharing the pics. I haven't seen them in a long time. Great memories.
Great photos Dick. I'm glad you're having such a great time.
Thanks for sharing.
These are great pictures Dick and I'm enjoying reading about your travels with Huggy.

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