U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds come to Chicago

IMG_1170This year the Chicago Air and Water show will play host to the United States Air Force Demonstration Squadron known as the Thunderbirds. They arrived at Gary Airport this morning – Gary is where the Air show is staged every year. They’ll be taking some much needed time off while in Chicago, and will begin practicing again on Friday. The team has made some interesting changes this year – to bolster the Air Force’s “Total Force Initiative”, they have taken on a member of the Air National Guard, and the Reserves. (more…)

 

UPDATE: Want to own your very own Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker?

Su-27_on_landingWell, now you can!  Pride Aircraft in Rockford Illinois has 2 for sale.  They are the first 4th generation fighter aircraft available on the open market in the United States.  They arrived here in the US from the Ukraine, completely demilitarized and ready for a complete overhaul in order to be put up for sale to a wealthy warbird collector looking to scream along at Mach 2.

I’ve been given the opportunity to go check out these aircraft – I’ll be bringing you the complete details on Friday.  Needless to say, I’m excited to check out these historical fighters.

UPDATE: I was at Pride Aircraft today.  I can tell you this, these are 2 of the most amazing aircraft I have ever seen.  I am not able to bring you the full story just yet because of some minor issues, but when I can – it’s going to be amazing.  I’m hoping to be able to have the post up by Monday.

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The Thunderbirds are coming to Chicago!

050303-F-1029W-003I’ll be talking to the USAF Thunderbirds on Monday before they start practicing for the Chicago Air and Water Show.  If there’s anything you’d like me to ask, leave it in the comments.  Look for the full story on Monday.

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F-35 Behind Schedule? Big Surprise…

sdd_f35testa_039Over at the Wired Blog “Danger Room” they’ve summarized a report indicating that the F-35 will not be up to full production until 2014.  Mean while our Airman have to operate aging aircraft under restrictions based on the age of their airframes.

I said I wasn’t going to weigh in on the F-22 debate – I lied. (more…)

 

Why aren’t we behind the F-22?

080817-F-0986R-005Anyone who reads the news, watches TV or is alive and able to hear, probably knows that the US has decided not to continue production of the F-22 Raptor.  I’m not going to try to debate the value of this aircraft — that’s been done plenty by just about every other mil blog on earth.  I’m going to take a look at what I think the fundamental issue is:

The Air Force is just not as popular as it once was.

The American public just doesn’t have the same view of the Air Force that it once had.  Why is that?  The USAF spends millions every year on advertising campaigns, immense recruiting campaigns and movie placement.  You would think that this would help.

Personally I think this has a lot to do with who our “competition” is.  When trying to win public support for one of the armed services, you’re essentially competing with the other services – think of sports teams.  If you live in Chicago, you’re generally a Cubs fan or a White Socks fan – almost never both.  We all live in a world of 5 Armed Services, Americans generally pick one to be a “fan” of.  This is usually for a couple of reasons:

  • Family – a close friend or family member is currently serving in that service
  • The individual served in that service themselves
  • Glamor – that particular service has a mystique that is endearing to people

(more…)

 

The Hurricane Hunters

HH_LogoOn Tuesday May 19th I had the opportunity to fly with, what I consider to be, one of the United States Air Force Elite flying units: The Hurricane Hunters.  This flight was a part of an extensive Social Media initiative put together by the 403rd Wing Public Affairs Team.  It was the first of it’s kind in the Air Force – what I mean by that is this was the first Media flight that was specifically targeting Bloggers. (more…)

 
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