Saturday, August 23, 2008

KC Airshow

I didn't have the time in my weekend for the full Kansas City Air Expo but as I've said before, flight fascinates me. When I was riding to Research Med yesterday, the USAF Thunderbirds were overhead, practicing for their full show today. Riding through the streets, there was one occasion where I heard a low bellow and then suddenly a high-pitched afterburner wail -- a very distinct sound. My pulse quickened. My heart skipped a beat. I was still in the heart of the city, though, and didn't see that fly-by. Moments later, a cluster of four fighters in triangle formation entered a steep climb. I had to resist the urge to stop and gawk.

Needless to say, I was all but hell-bent on at least catching the Thunderbirds' performance this afternoon. The general rule of an airshow is that the airfield will be packed by noon, and the roads, particularly bridges and high areas, will be too clogged with people trying to see the airborne events. Sounds like a perfect job for a bike to me.

My suspicions were correct. Too many people and parked cars on this stretch of Woodswether Road for even the most determined motorist to traverse.

I kept moving up Woodswether towards the Broadway Bridge (in the background of the above photo) and found myself a nice spot among other cyclists. Navigating up here through the backed-up traffic was a pain in the butt, but worth it. I got more than one jealous look as I proceeded up the hill through gridlock.

Even the river below us was teeming with boats.

Take-off. I have no clue how these four pilots left the ground in formation but they did.

Initial Climb


This was insane. I have no clue how high they were from the ground, but it wasn't very far. They weren't staggered, either, so the planes were mere feet from touching.

I snagged a photo of one landing over I-70.

All in all, a great day, even if it was more like August (hot and humid) than it's been for a while.


Revrunner said...

Cool pics, KC!

Bryan said...

Nice pics. Being a Navy guy (and an Air Defense Officer at one point) I always loved jet aircraft. Of course, my favorite flight group is the Blue Angels. If the Thunderbirds blew you away you should see the Blue Angels if you haven't. They do some amazing stuff.

Noah said...

The Blue Angels headlined last year or the year before. Their show was markedly different but no more nor no less amazing.

Marla said...

I remember being out on my mountain bike up in Indiana and Fat Albert from the Blue Angels stoppped by for some reason. Then ended up taking off right over me. Fantastic! I think they were doing an aishow at the old Grissom AFB back then. I've seen both groups and they are truly amazing.

GhostRider said...

I love how the Thunderbirds come a week early to get the "lay of the land", set up staging points for their demo, etc. The Lake City (FL) Airshow had the Thunderbirds both times I went, and the 'Birds would advertise their presence by hauling ass just above the main drap through town -- barrel-rolling all the way. That's WAY better than posters and TV spots for advertising!

Strangely enough, I've never seen the Angels, despite attendance at something like 20 air shows. I'll have to catch them one of these days!

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