Aviation Nation 2011

1 Dec

Despite our 3rd early morning in a row we were excited by the thought of attending another Aviation Nation air display at Nellis Air Base. I had been  surprised at our previous visit by how thrilled I had been watching the various aircraft put through their paces and viewing the static displays on the ground. Our enjoyment was enhanced by having George along with us, being an ex air force guy he could fill in lots of details for us Robert particularly enjoyed having another person he could talk ‘techy’ with.

The system for moving a large crowd of people is very well organised at this event,  cars are parked away from the base, you are screened through security then loaded on to coaches to be driven the mile or so onto the base itself. Once arrived through the gates you are free to wander amongst the static aircraft in between looking skywards as the aircraft arrive and show off their capabilities.

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I have to admit I was really looking forward to seeing the Patriots display team and the Thunderbirds too. George and Robert were excited by the fact that the B2 stealth bomber was due to fly and we could also view, from a secure distance a B2 on the ground.

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We walked through the cargo bay of a huge transporter plane, despite the numbers inside, several dozen at least, it was not crowded, it is so huge. On the other hand I was amazed by how small the remote control drone aircraft, Predator and Reaper are.

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These two unmanned aircraft are controlled from the US but have flown in important missions thousands of miles away supporting UN and US activities.

Whilst serving in the Air Force George had been involved for a good period of time with the B52, it is always far more interesting to view something with a knowledgeable guide, we listened with great interest to the technical details and anecdotes he was able to relate while we walked around the plane.

An announcement was made that the B2 was on its way… we looked skywards and like a miss shaped boomerang it appeared above us.

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It passed over and back, then over again with the cargo doors open.

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I was reminded of our afternoon in Sunderland watching the Vulcan bomber fly over head with our Grandson Kai, he would have loved this afternoon’s display.

P1240102And then came the Thunderbirds, first lined up on the ground, their red white and blue patriotic livery shows well against the back drop of blue sky and mountains.

 

 

The ground crew have a ritual performance to go through before the flight demonstrating their discipline and teamwork skills. Just like ballooning the ground crew has a big part to play in the success of the flight.

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In the air the pilots fly in close formationP1240130

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While we look on in awe!

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The afternoon closed and so did our visit to Las Vegas. We said our good byes to George and Aggie and began the journey back to the camp ground. Las Vegas is certainly not all about ‘The Strip’ and gambling and we had visited for 3 days without seeing anything other than a distant view of the main area. That was until in our tired, end of day state, we took a wrong turn and drove on the interstate above the ‘strip’, past Bellagio, Caesars Palace and others, with their bright lights illuminating the sky.

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One Response to “Aviation Nation 2011”

  1. Katy December 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    It looks like you’re having a great time! How interesting it would be to see the aircraft up close. We’ve occasionally seen the B2 Stealth bomber fly overhead here. Some of them are based at nearby Whiteman Air Force base and sometimes they’ll fly over Arrowhead Stadium, before a football game. It’s great to read your blog and see what you’ve been up to!

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