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SEARCHING FOR WARBIRDS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD

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I had the recent good fortune to be invited to stay at a Vacation House with some friends on the property at Walt Disney World near Orlando Florida for the last week on March. This crew were all Disney World experts; they had been down many times to Disney World to stay in a multi-bedroom suite – kind of like a time-share based on vacation points that the Owner builds up. They knew everything about Disney World Florida! One guest was even a Senior VP at Disney Studios in LA – that really worked well when looking for a parking space! But you don’t need a car here -the Disney bus service is frequent and takes you everywhere.

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RE-POSITIONING AT THE NEW ENGLAND AIR MUSEUM

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I took a ride up north recently, on a nice warm February day to see what was going on at the New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport north of Hartford, CT. Crazy weather, 74 degrees in February, climate change for sure, but a great day to drive up and see some warbirds!! They sometimes move the airplanes around a bit at NEAM so it was a pleasant surprise when I walked into the Main Military Hanger and saw that a pretty good “New England Shuffle” had taken place. As you came in past the Gift Shop, the first newly positioned plane on the left was the USAF grey 1960 Kaman (still a local helicopter and air systems manufacturer in CT) HH-43F “Huskie” (maybe named after the nearby UConn “Huskies”) #60-0289, in pristine condition. Next to it was a dark blue 1985 SH-2F Navy “Seasprite”, also a Kaman product. Right in the middle of the hanger floor was the large Sikorsky CH-54B “Tarhe” heavy lift helo that was assigned to the CT Army Guard Aviation Unit in the 1980s, on the other side of the north-south runway, across from the museum. The Tarhe was noted for lifting and attaching a bus-sized passenger compartment, or like the current heavy loads as a water tanker for fighting forest fires. The lift is controlled by a Loadmaster in a special control cabin facing aft. Working our way to the left rear corner, we had our old friend, the 1972 McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II “Rhino” in dark green Euro-One camo. Then in a contrasting orange color scheme, we had the 1967 Sikorsky (again, a local company with its headquarters down in Stratford, CT) HH-52A “Seaguard” SAR helicopter previously based at Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, finally brought from exile in a rear hanger, and now residing at Show Center in the Main Military Hanger.

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The Royal Air Force is 100 Years Old

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The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) celebrates its’ one hundredth anniversary on April 1, 2018. Formed during the latter part of the First World War, it came into being through the merging of the (army’s) Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

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THE 2017 ANDREWS AIR SHOW

 

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The “2017 Joint Base Andrews Air Show – Breaking Barriers for 70 Years – Featuring the Thunderbirds and the Golden Knights” – was held on Saturday and Sunday, September 16 – 17, 2017. Andrews had a fabulous Air Show this year. As has been the case for the last few years, the air show parking for the public was at the FedEx Field parking lots, about 10 miles to the north off of the I-495 Beltway. The public was bussed to the north end of the static ramp off of Exit 9 on Route 337 and into the North Gate to the ramp. Years ago the public could drive on base and park on the South Ramp, but since 9-11 and for security reasons, no spectator cars were allowed on base for the Air Show. Surprisingly, and even with all the budget cutbacks and the Congressionally mandated “Sequester” still in effect, Andrews was able to muster 98 airplanes both on the Static Ramp and the Hot Ramp this year. Let’s just round it off and call it an even 100 on the ramp for “Andrews-2017”! And, considering NAS Oceana, only three hours south of DC, was also having their big air show in Virginia Beach on exactly the same weekend, still over 150,000 people showed up at Andrews for each of the Show Days! But before we go chasing airplanes, it might be nice to take a quick look at this very important Air Base that hosts not only the President of the United States but also Heads of State and just about every important government official in DC needing to go someplace.

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