The pointy end of your standard issue F-18 Hornet fighter. The lens makes it look much further away than it is. When I say “up close and personal,” the emphasis is on “close.” Touching the planes is a good way to be asked to leave, possibly with an escort and to a place other than where you want to go, but just getting a good look? That’s easy.
This is simultaneously both the “go fast” and “stop fast” end of the F-18 Hornet. Those two engines with afterburners can push you vertical with ease, and up to Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph). That big hook in the middle is how you stop eleven tons of flying machine on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The B-52 bombers just keep going and flying on forever. These planes were built prior to the birth of their pilot’s parents for the most part, but they keep getting upgraded and maintained and nothing better’s been developed yet.
The best utility of a BUFF (or any other large cargo or transport plane) at an airshow is providing shade!
The A-6 Intruder. That weird proboscis? That’s where you nuzzle up to the nozzle hanging down from the tanker for mid-air refueling.
The A-6 in profile, and amazingly, without anyone standing in the way! I think I waited ten minutes for that to happen.
The E-2 Hawkeye is a communications center in the air and a reconnaissance platform. It can simultaneously track over 2,000 targets and up to a 100 ongoing target intercepts over an area out to over 400 miles. That’s a lot of command and control.
These big eight-blade propeller make a lot of noise and deliver a lot of thrust, always useful on a carrier takeoff. They also sound odd compared to a jet, which is why this plane is sometimes called the “Hummer.”
The big dome on the top rotates as the radar system works. The double, extra wide tail is needed to deal with the disruption of the air coming over and around the radar disc.