Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Warbirds Over the Beach: A WWII Airshow in Virgina

I really do. It's lovely to say that my ship's ballcap was blown off TWICE by a FG-1D Corsair, starting it's powerful Pratt & Whitney 2,250hp engine.

I sat on the museum's double-decker bus for a part of the first day to watch from a shady shelter. The sun was so brilliant both days.
 Biplane trainers, or in the case of the Polikarpov PO-2 Mule in the foreground... a workhorse of the Russian Night Witches. Behind it is a German Focke-Wulf, and behind that a US Navy Stearman PT-17. It was so neat to see them all fly!

 The museum's own German 88mm anti-aircraft gun that re-enactors (the 62nd FLAK Regiment - a self-titled "non-political, non-profit living history organization) fired several times at passing European theater Allied aircraft. Even though all the German uniforms were really cool (and very authentic), I still felt uncomfortable around them. Felt like a spy, walking around their tents. Once when they fired the gun, a little boy asked his mother why they were shooting at people. He was genuinely worried, poor guy. Only fake wars are fun.

The B-25 Mitchell.

 Inside the PBY-5A Catalina

The only operating C-46 in the lower 48 states, the Tinker Bell, dropped a parachute demonstration team based out of Oklahoma. And they want volunteers. !

 Above, the Junkers JU-52 liaison plane. It could take off in a hurry! Also impressive in their German collection was a ME-262 from Suffolk that flew around, but couldn't land on the little grass runway because it was a jet, and also, a 1945 V-1 pulsejet engine recovered from Southeastern Germany and built from labor supplied from Buchenwald. They warned people before they fired it up, it was so startling.

 The Tiger Moth. I was allowed to STEP ON THE WING to get the pic to the right, using the non-skid strip, of course. This little beauty has wings of fabric! Someone told me that the year before a woman in high heels stepped up on it without asking and put her heel through the fabric! I think I would rather die than hurt this little plane. Oh, my heart, when I saw it take off, circle and land.

Below, the Messerschmitt BF-108 trainer, also with fabric wings, also flying.

 Above, a P-51 Mustang's .50 caliber Browning machine guns in a wing. Below, an FM-2 Wildcat's props.

 Above, a 1941 P-40E Kittyhawk dressed up like a Flying Tiger. Below, the lovely 1943 Supermarine Spitfire MK-IXE that very unfortunately did not fly during the show due to mechanical trouble. It had flown the days before the show though.

The Hawker Hurricane flew a lot though, and that was neat! Also, they had the ONLY airworthy de Havilland DH-98 Mosquito IN THE WORLD. And I got to see it take off, circle and land. How cool it is that?! Somehow I didn't get any pictures of the Mosquito.

They were selling rides in this lovely biplane. I didn't put my name in quick enough.

There were lots of re-enactors, including women! There was a WAAF officer and a lovely girl in a French resistance group that looked rather like Miss Khan from the film Enemy of the Reich. I was too shy to ask for a picture. When some German officers walked by their exhibit, one of the men shielded their set-up, saying "Nothing to see here!" LOL! The German responded that they were not Gestapo.

 So much happiness in this picture, I can't even say. I want to ride that and that and that...

Farewell, folks. It was awesome! Looking forward to the WWI airshow in October!


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