Aviation Nation 09
2009 Aviation Nation, Nellis AFB, NV. November 14-15, Thunderbirds
My first visit to Nellis AFB was for the 2005 Air Show and I couldn't wait to get back there. The scenery alone is breath taking compared to the bases I visit in New England. At first I was pretty upset the Air Force had sent the Strike Eagle and Raptor Demo teams to Dubai. Nellis pulled through with bringing in the Heritage F-4 Phantom and the F-22 that flew in the Nellis Unit fly by really put on a decent show even if it wasn't the full Raptor demo I had seen at Rhode Island earlier this year.
Because Aviation Nation is such a large show we had to park at the raceway across the street and get bused in. They really had this down so everyone moved as smoothly as possible considering the large crowds. The air show opened with the USAF Academy "Wings of Blue" Parachute team. They were followed by the Nellis AFB Flyby which were the F-22, F-15C, F-16 and an A-10 all from the USAFWC unit. The F-22 then preformed some fly bys and some nice climbs but not the full demo.
The next few groups of aircraft were from past wars, the B-25 Doolittle Raider's followed next by the P-51 Horsemen Demo team. Up next were a Mig 15, F-86, A-1 Skyraiders and a T-6 performing a Korean Reenactment. The Trainer Parade which consisted of T-33's, T-34's, T-28's and T'6's made multiple 2 ship fly bys. Bill Reesman in his Red Bull Mig-17 demo would race the Air Force Reserve Jet car after his demo. On Sat Bill won and Sunday the Jet Car was the winner. The Patriots L-39 Demo team took to the skies following the jet race with their Black L-39 trainer jets.
The US Navy F-18F Super Hornet Demo team from NAS Lemoore ripped up the sky and then slowed his pace for the Legacy Flight with a F-4F Wildcat. March AFB's C-17 Demo showed just how agile the large cargo plane can be. They moved this plane around like it was a fighter that amazed the crowd. A first for me was seeing the RNLAF F-16 demo, on Sunday we were treated with the smoke missles on the wingtips which was different from the USAF Viper demo teams.
Seeing that the 2 former A-10 units from New England have been moved thanks to BRAC I was looking forward to seeing the A-10 West Coast demo team from Davis-Monthan. I was not let down by the great act he put on which started with a sharp dive from up high over our right shoulder. Nothing more distinct that the sound of the A-10 Warthog! The ACC Heritage Flight consisting of the F-4 Phantom, F-86 Sabre, A-10 and a P-38 Lightning which was another first for me. The show was closed with the home unit USAF Thunderbirds. They always put on a great show and seemed to give a little extra knowing it was the last air show of the season and they were in front of family.
Even though the temps were actually colder in Vegas than they were back home in NH, it was a great end to the Air Show season. It's going to be a long winter waiting for Rhode Island 2010 to arrive in June.