Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Here comes the thunder!!

Its been a week since my last post. I started writing this one sometime last Tuesday, but somehow was too lazy to complete it. Anyways here I am now.

I haven't ever been to an airshow until last saturday 21 April 2007. I mean, Bangalore is home to a good airshow, but the crowds really are a turn-off. Though we have been here in Kentucky for 2 years now, we never went to the Thunder of Louisville air show until this year. The first year, I hadn't even joined Sri and was still in Bangalore. Last year, we were planning our India trip by this time, so weren't able to.

Finally this year we made it :). And I am impressed. I can't say it was one of the best I've seen, as I haven't seen any at all :-p. But it certainly did feel like the best. We didn't find out it was on that saturday until that afternoon. Which wasn't that big a problem as Louisville is only an hour's drive away. The show actually started at 3 PM, but we didn't really didn't want to sit too long in the sun. So we left home at around 4:30 PM and reached the Louisville downtown around 5:40 PM.

The air show takes place across Ohio river. The best part is that there is no ticket (except for the parking fee and the goodies you end up drinking/eating ;-) :-D) and also that its a prelude to one of the most fabulous firework shows in the US. Tens of thousands of people attend the show yearly from all over the US. While we were on one of the flyovers near the Ohio river, we saw our first helicopter formation for the day. We had to move further away to park. We had gotten camp chairs of our own to sit in, so while we were walking to the show carrying all the stuff, we saw the amazing B-2 Stealth bomber flying over us. Sadly we were still amidst buildings and I couldn't capture a photo. But it was a wonderful sight to say the least. I've seen a B-2 before in the National Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, but seeing it fly was something else :).

The people were thronging every place, but we still managed to find some space and settled down on the camp chairs. The next set of helicopters to make an appearance were the UH-60 Black Hawks. There were 3 of them and they did some maneuvers :). Only 2 are seen in the following snap though:

Next in line was the CH-47 Chinook. It did only one pass but looked cool nevertheless.

Following the Chinnok were 2 SH-60B choppers :).

Then the US coast guard helicopter showed a few of its capabilities after which 4 advertisement planes flew to display the sponsor names :). The ad planes are very small planes that carry a banner in the sky..

Next to make their appearance were the C-130 Kentucky Air National Guard planes:

It seems they are used for U.S. military and humanitarian operations. The next plane was the C-17 Globemaster and it is used for cargo and troop transport.

One fun fact is that one such plane is also used to transport the Limos of the president of US anywhere he goes in the world!! It seems this flight heads out before the Air Force One leaves anywhere.

Next were the F-16s. Man! Were they fast. Also they made only one pass, so I am glad I was able to capture them :).

Following them were the US army sky soldiers. These were a set of 4 helicopters:

The next were the best of all helicopters. The AH-64 Apaches from Ft Knox gave a demonstration on how they fly and it was truly spectacular :). It seems they are attack helicopters and supposed are "quick-reacting, airborne weapon systems that can fight close and deep to destroy, disrupt, or delay enemy forces".

They stayed for about 10 minutes performing all sorts of maneuvers and flying up and down, while I captured several amazing photos :).

Next were the amazing F-18s. I thought F-16s were fast, but these were faster and I somehow hastened and managed to get a good snap :).

They stayed for sometime flying in circles, but they were too fast for me to capture a zoomed photo :(. The most fascinating thing was that they flew upwards and vanished in a matter of seconds!!

There was a collective gasp from the crowd ;-) :).

Thereafter, it was the turn of the A-10. These flights are specially designed for close air support of ground forces..

Subsequently, another set of F-18s made an appearance, but these didn't stay for too long and made only one pass..

It had already crossed 8 PM by then and the fireworks barges moved into position.

There were actually 2 barges and they stood in such a way that a bridge separated them. We were only able to see one barge and the bridge. The bridge was also supposed to have some fireworks show, so we were glad :).

Next in line were the Trojan Horsemen Aerobatic formation demo team. They were really good. First they formed something which looked like a big UFO in the night :). People (us too :-D) really ooh-ed and aah-ed. Later they made a cross formation:

I was really impressed. Man, it must be so difficult to maintain all the flights at the same speed and moving in the same direction so as to keep the formation intact! Imagine how much practice it'd take! And imagine, even if one loses control, all the others are in trouble :-O!

Next 2 helicopters flew with the American flag, while patriotic songs were played :).

Before the fireworks began, the last show for the night was the Bill Leff night show :). I couldn't really capture good photos of the show as it was dark already, but you can see some in the link. The show consists of a flight which throws fireworks from its ends! I hadn't even heard of such a thing before. The flight moved like a fast comet, showering fire and fireworks wayyy above in the sky in tune to some loud music :).

Finally, the barges got ready and the fireworks began exactly at 9:30 PM. And it was nothing like I've seen before in US and believe me, I have seen quite a few.

They exploded from the barges and the bridge..

All sorts of wonderful colours which made all of us clap and cheer :).

The best being the "rainfall" from the bridge :).

They lasted for half an hour and ended at 10 PM. We later packed up our chairs and headed back to the parking lot.

We started driving and the traffic was jammed for a long time. We almost stayed in the same area for more than 1.5 hours!! I felt they could have organized the traffic movement a bit better (they do know so many people attend this), but maybe they did their best. Anyways by the time we got home, it was almost 1 AM, so were pretty tired..

All in all, if you forget the last traffic jam (:-D), it was truly a delightful experience. Next year, we plan to go earlier so that we don't miss anything :).


Chitra retorted...

Nice pics! Especially the fireworks! :)

Smi retorted...

Hey the pictures remind me of fireworks over the Harbor bridge in Sydney! This one's quite a sight too!:)

Usha retorted...

never bothered much with these airshows but your pictures are so nice that perhaps next year I will try to go here in jakkur.

Deeps retorted...

Chitra, thanks :). I'm glad they came out great :).

Smi, these are compared to the Sydney fireworks, though they are far greater :).

Usha, this air show has made me change my mind about the Bangalore one too. I would like to attend one sometime :).

accidental diva retorted...

Hey reall nice pics deeps...esp the ones of the fireworks:):)
looks like u had fun:)

Observer retorted...

What abt Mig 21. and charred body of piolets.

wise donkey retorted...

nice pics !
wouldnt have been easy to take ..

but a plane for a limo!