Zero’s Kates and Vals appeared over the crowd as explosions went off everywhere in the blistering July heat. The heat index was 115 degrees on the runway and the sun was relentless as the roar of World War II piston engine craft filled the sky with an unmistakable pulse. The re-enactment of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was underway by a group of stunt pilots flying restored fighters in a pyrotechnic reminder of just how badly governments of the world have desired to extinguish the power of personal liberty known as the United States. The show known as Tora! Tora! Tora was just one of the many shows displayed at the 2011 Vectren Dayton Air Show, but for me it was the best because of my love of piston engine aircraft. You can see my personal video of that show and other highlights here:
I’ll have to give Michael Emoff (Chairman U.S. Air and Trade Show Board of Trustees) credit; the seats from The Chairman’s Club were as good as it gets for a show of this magnitude. The catered food all morning and into the afternoon was wonderfully refreshing, as was the constant supply of 6 different beer selections. But the truckloads of bottled water were essential, and made the show a comfortable success. I cannot argue that the entire show took place in my lap from that vantage point, and it was a delightful endeavor. On the other side of the fence, the massive hoard of a crowd packed in close to see the action, and it looked hot over there, with no room to breathe for many people.
The Chairman’s Club is a section set up for exclusive guests and many in the aviation business comfortably packed the tables in front of the gigantic mess hall tent, which did lower the temperature considerably with its high vaulted ceilings that allowed the hot air someplace to go, and to cool. It was a good design. The ice cream prior to the Thunderbirds show was a nice touch even if it did melt in a matter of minutes. As is the custom, many of the pilots and parachutists come to The Chairman’s Club to refresh after their portion of the show and meet some of the guests who help put their planes in the air. It is a chance for both sides of the aviation business to meet each other up close and personal. I told one of the guys who had drug his parachute into the area to repack after he had landed just moments after falling from 16,000 feet, “Bet you wish you were still up there.”
The F/A-18 pilots came and took turns taking pictures with many of the GE employees present. For many of them it was a moment of pride to see the Super Hornet’s take off from the tarmac and go almost instantly vertical. The clouds dotting the sky prevented long runs at the airstrip, so the F/A-18’s kept their speeds under the speed of sound, but the vibration and roar of those F414-GE-400 engines brought a line of high level employees to the pilots when they showed up for some relief from the heat and to provide the customary pictures and autographs.
It was obvious that even from the pilots faces that The Chairman’s Club was an oasis upon that landscape of blistering heat that was closest to the flight line and the first stop to recharge their bodies.
But even with all the high performance displays of the F/A-18’s, the Thunderbirds in the F-16’s, The B-1B Lancer with its 30,780 pounds of afterburner thrust, the fantastic modified stunt plane by Oracle called the Oracle Challenger, specially built for Sean D. Tucker and his fantastic aerobatics with jaw-dropping stunts, it was the World War ll era fighters that I found the most attachment to.
There was a Corsair in the air which set my mind back to the heroics of Tex Hill, after Hill completed his tour of duty with General Clair Chennault and the Flying Tigers over China. There was a B-25 Mitchell that I’ve always loved, the sound of the 2 Curtiss-Wright Twin Cyclone engines pushing out 1,700 hp each punching the air with American brutality. It was the B-25 that made up the 16 bombers who took off from an aircraft carrier to bomb Tokyo five months after Peril Harbor on a mission known as The Doolittle Raiders. I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with this plane during the show which I included in my video because of the distinctive sound of its engine. The plane is the prototype of what would become the fantasy of The Millennium Falcon in Star Wars, and it’s a favorite of mine. It was the display of Tora! Tora! Tora! That captured my attention the most.
During that re-enactment of the bombing of Peril Harbor the planes flew in multiple trajectories, crossing each other in complicated ways through smoke and explosions. Many of the planes made bombing runs 20 to 30 feet over the runway multiple times, which was impressive. A reminder of what governments are capable of cannot be ignored when anybody attending this air show can witness firsthand the power at play through the machines of aviation in defense of freedom.
America without any question invented aviation, and that birthplace was Dayton, Ohio, which gives the Dayton Air Show added meaning. It was the Wright Brothers who using good-ol’ America horse-sense invented flight with a kite like plane built on the principles of a bicycle. It was the bravery of people like Chuck Yeager, Tex Hill, The Doolittle Raiders and Howard Hughes who pushed what flight could accomplish in war to advance aviation to the levels seen in this show. Case in point, the B-2 Bomber made an appearance; it took off from Arizona that morning, arrived at preciously the correct time just a few hours later in Dayton. It made two passes of the air field blasting its engines on the second pass, then heading to Peoria, Illinois for another air-show just 45 minutes away for that craft, on schedule of course. The B-2 would then land back at its home base, it’s pilots home in time for dinner after traveling all over the United States in the course of the day. The B-2 is the culmination of years of bravery and technical innovation. It is evident when attending air-shows like this, that if an enemy of the United States wanted to attack America, like the Japanese did at Peril Harbor, and the Soviet Union attempted to do in the space race economically, and failed, that the heart of America, the spirit that advanced aviation to the modern levels of the B-2 bomber would have to be removed. No country in the world can compete with the United States because of America’s development of aviation.
If one cares to understand the mind of the enemy, and America will always have enemies, they will read what the enemy does. The most recent is the radical Islamic elements in the middle-east, those old empire builders of the Persian Empire who still despise America for its role in dividing up the Middle East after the Treaty of Versailles, or the Chinese communists who fought America in Korea through support of North Korea, and Vietnam with Russian support. There is no question that in many palaces and luxury meeting rooms all across this world the topic comes up, “How do we get rid of America.” It is clear in the Sun Tzu classic, which I personally studied for over 10 years, The Art of War, that the best way to destroy your enemy is by prevailing over those who have already lost. That is the essence of that classic piece of literature which is currently studied aggressively by Chinese and Japanese military, government and business leaders. And the way to beat America is to convince Americans to strap themselves down in debt, so they do not have the money to spend on their wonderful aviation and technological development.
The Space Shuttle Program just ended. Under the Obama administration NASA along with the Joint Strike Fighter have both been targeted for elimination because America has spent itself into catastrophe, and is no longer making investments into aviation like it has over the last century, culminating into the B-2 Bomber.
The F135 Joint Strike Fighter has also hit the chopping block, at least it’s back-up GE/Roll Royce engine. It is easy to see who America’s enemies are because they are against the construction of this next generation aircraft.
It is interesting to hear what people on the political left think are appropriate in debating budget negotiations. Listen to this simple-minded person talk about the budget battle taking place, and what is appropriate in that conflict. Obama and his people are big union supporters, and Lockheed Martin, GE and most in aviation that are behind the Joint Strike Fighter are giant unions, yet there are many who subscribe to the theories of cutting defense spending and NASA to pay for the destructive entitlement programs created by politicians to purchase votes. Those same people believe that the right thinks just as devious as the left. They are all off the mark in my opinion, but aviation to me expands America in every possible way, and should not be negotiated with by either side as some type of bargaining chip. Everyone wins in aviation no matter what the political affiliation left, right or middle. The only losers are other competing countries.
What is the RT? That’s an English-speaking progressive channel that stands for Russia Today. That’s why the temperature in Moscow is listed in the bottom corner. They are a propaganda arm of modern Russia, and if you think they don’t still have a grudge against America, they were one of the few countries to not accept the full title of the recent Hollywood film, Captain America.
As I watched the Dayton Air Show it was apparent to me that many of the enemies of America are now attempting to destabilize the United States not with stealth weapons, or even spies. They are trying a much more sinister weapon called progressivism, which is designed to lower American defenses, drain our wealth and keep us from spending money on the kind of technology on display at the air show, because the enemies of the United States cannot reach that level of technology. All they can really do is corrupt our youth into becoming lost adults who don’t remember Pearl Harbor or people like Tex Hill.
Progressives are attempting to inspire the youth culture to live aimless lives with an un-heroic pretense. Those enemies will do everything they can to topple the United States from the inside out, because that is the only way they can rule the planet, and their respective portions of the world. For now, they’ll use the United Nations for their own agenda, but once America is gone, and the money it puts into supporting world peace with it, the tyrants will have a new day and chance at spreading their tyranny across the face of the plant.
In some future air show, people will attend and wonder how a civilization who built such fantastic ancient machines like the Joint Strike Fighter, and the B-2 Bomber simply disappeared and stopped the technological advances that America seemed poised to create.
As I watched the F/A-18F pilots stand with a group of people in The Chairman’s Club under the elite protection of all the elements present, the people who build the planes and the pilots who fly them, I wondered how many of those people really understood the fight that was really happening outside those protected confines, out beyond the crowd of burnt up citizens scanning into the heavens at the fantastic aerial display going on in the sky, or the small children buying toy air planes from a vender proudly holding the toys as if they were treasures more valuable than gold, because the toys themselves represent power, and freedom. Who among anybody really understood the games being played and the stake of the games, which with all the proud patriotic celebration of the past that the future is in such jeopardy, did anybody really know?
I don’t believe many of those people out of the thousands around me really put much thought into it. As long as the beer was cold, the catered chicken and beef cooked to perfection, and the side dishes were immaculate, the politics of the day were other people’s problem. The air show was to be enjoyed and once over, we would all return to our VIP parking spots right outside the fence and be on Highway 75 before most of the other people would be headed to the vast parking lots packed with cars over a half a mile away. And of all those masses, the focus was on the past, at what we had done in that past both distant and recent. But the future is in jeopardy if that same American spirit that put those planes in the air does not survive the peril of progressivism, given to the United States from foreign enemies by spies and double-agents using the long proven instructions spelled out in Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War.