AutoMatters: Planes of Fame Airshow & “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
By Jan Wagner
Our coverage this week begins with the Planes of Fame Airshow, which also included some cool vintage military vehicles used in a battle re-enactment. The show was held on the first weekend in May at the Chino Airport.
As Steve Hinton, President of the Planes of Fame Air Museum wrote in the air show’s souvenir program (which provided a wealth of interesting information about the aircraft), this year’s air show was a salute to the U.S. Army Air Corps’ Mighty 8th. He explained that in Europe in 1944 “the U.S. Army Air Corps, as the U.S. Air Force was known at the time, reorganized its efforts by combining the 8th Bomber Command and the 9th Air Force into what is known today as the Mighty 8th.” “By July of that same year, the Mighty 8th was made up of more than 200,000 airmen and could deploy 2,000 heavy four-engine bombers and 1,000 fighter aircraft on any given day to multiple targets.”
Military aircraft from that era up to the present day, as well as civilian aerobatic aircraft – featuring Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, thrilled and amazed the awe-struck spectators. To see and hear these aircraft in action was truly a rare and wonderful experience.
Of these, my favorite was the North American P-51D Mustang. With a “maximum speed of 437 mph, a service ceiling of 41,900 feet, eight 0.50 cal machine guns and provisions for 2,500 lb. bombs,” the “Mustang went on to establish a reputation as possibly the most effective all-round fighter of the war and certainly the best long-range escort fighter of its era.” It’s one tough-looking airplane!
Also flying were the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Republic P-47G Thunderbolt, Lockheed P-38J Lightning (“with its distinctive twin-boom design”), Curtiss P-40N Warhawk (“the aircraft of the Flying Tigers”), North American P-51A Mustang, North American B-25J Mitchell (which “served in both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations”), Vought F4U-1 Corsair and Northrop N9MB Flying Wing. This bright yellow plane “is one of four prototypes built by Northrop in 1944 as a 1/3 scale test model for the Northrop XB-35 Flying Wing bomber” “and is the grandfather of today’s B-2 Stealth Bomber. It is the only surviving example in the world.”
Jet aircraft included the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, North American F-86F Sabre (“the primary U.S. air-to-air fighter during the Korean War”) and a Mach 2 class U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor – “the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities” (per the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Demonstration Team handout).
An absolute highlight was a “Heritage Flight” consisting of a P-51D Mustang, Lockheed P-38J Lightning, Republic P-47G Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor flying together in tight formation.
I highly recommend the new movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” As is succinctly explained in the press notes, “characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past … in order to change a major historical event and fight an epic battle that could save our future.” It combines a complex and engaging story, great acting by a superb cast and mind-blowing special effects. While it would be helpful to already be familiar with the X-Men franchise, that is not necessary to enjoy this film. Be sure to stick around to the very end of the movie, because after the credits there is a scene that gives clues about the next X-Men movie.
A news story on TV caught my attention. It featured a top ten list of the world’s most forward thinking and successful companies, which included Apple and Google. They share corporate cultures that encourage thinking out of the box, which has led to the growth of their brands into new areas.
Google, now much more than just an Internet search engine, has become a wildly successful, multi-faceted technology company that has also worked to develop Google Glass, self-driving (autonomous) cars, a (legally challenged) project to digitize all of the world’s books and much more.
AutoMatters, too, has evolved over the years. It is now much more than just a car column, which has broadened its appeal to a more diverse audience. One long-time reader suggested that I add “& OtherMatters” to the name. What do you think of that idea?
As always, please send your comments and suggestions to AutoMatters@gmail.com.
Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters #334
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