This past week has been picture perfect weather here in Florida, with temperatures in the high 80's all week, no rain, and lots of sun... this is what we pay for.
Last year Judy found this terrific RC Model Aircraft fly in, that is held annually over in Lakeland. We attended and really enjoyed, so it was time to go back for another round of Florida Jets this week. We actually went up on Thursday, but just getting around to blogging it all today.
As a celebrated pilot myself...(well, in my own mind) I was a little concerned about the wind conditions, as you can see the flags flying in the breeze... however this was a total non issue for these guys flying these Jets. Just makes for more fun on the landings!
This show is sponsored in part by a Company called Zap! If you followed my blog a few years ago, when I would have an airplane event quite often I would use Zap Glue to make things right again. Yes, I bought quite a few bottles of it!
This glue is made right here in Lakeland, and is sold all over the place...not cheap, but works like a welding tourch!
Over 150 Pilots come from all around the world to fly their jets at this meet. There is no competition at this event...only for the best looking aircraft. They just come to fly and have fun. Keep in mind the money here, these jets can cost anywhere from $5,000.00 to $30,000.00 U.S. Not a cheap hoby.
They have a whole series of tents they put up to act as pit stops for the flight crews, as the Florida Sun can just be relentless. Your $10.00 entrance ticket allows you to wander down pitt row and see and touch and talk to the Pilots.
Here are some pitt row pictures I took...
How about a replica of the famous American Blue Angels to start.
Yes, it takes computers and lots of electronic parts to run these things... they also burn good old regular Jet Fuel, they same fuel used by the big boys flying you all around the world.
The detail and finish on these planes is second to none.... painstaking hours spent under construction!
Check out this Honda Jet above... Apparently Honda is building 5 of these planes right now. This is a scaled model, built by the pilot's Father, out of wood. He did an incredible job. It is twin engine, you can see one on this side of the plane with the name Honda on it.
Above is a jet engine for sale. It comes in a very nice carrying case, all set to blast you off! They do come in various sizes, this one being a mid size engine. They have incredible thrust. We saw one for sale a bit bigger than this, and the price tag for the engine alone was $6,000.00. Can get pretty expensive if you want to put two of these on one plane! Oh, and keep in mind, that the FAA of the United States, plus Homeland Security, limits these planes to a top speed of 200 MPH! There were some planes at this event that could hit this speed!
OK, lets look at the flight line. This is a custom made airfield, called Paridise Field. It is attached to the Lakeland Regional Airport. It is set up specifically with the long fully paved runway running east to west. The pilots stand on the south side of the runway, looking north as they fly. This way, they will never have the sun in their eyes as they fly. Very important as I can attest to that one!
The cement pad area above is the staging area for the pilots. They use this space to get the jet ready to go. Fueling and starting are done here, as well as landing gear checks and flight contol checks. I personally have left these checks to be done in the air while flying, and they never seem to work out properly for me this way....go figure, and buy some more Zap!
The flight area above is a very busy place. The pilots stand behind the small 3 foot fence you see to fly. The runway is just on the other side of it. There are six pilots and four ground controllers. The ground controllers hold up a green paddle or a red paddle to indicate if a plane is taking off or landing. You can see a guy holding up a paddle in the centre of the pic above. When six planes are in the air, it gets a little harry!
This UPS Jet came in and delivered some parts that the guys needed! Just think of the fuel they save using this Jet for deliveries!
The pictures above give you a good indication of the size of some of these planes... They sound just like a real jet aircraft while flying. While we were watching, I noticed a big plume of black smoke from the far side of the field, and then Judy and I saw flames! Yikes... what happened? Well, turns out, a plane actually crashed while flying. It was ugly. Big plume of black smoke. They sent out vehicles to investigate, and the fire truck from the airport came out to help. They did recover the plane, and I got a picture of what they brought back... which is not pretty! Check it out below...
I was unable to determine what kind of plane this was, but as you can see, a complete loss. A lot of money would have gone up in smoke here...
The plane you see above is the largest one that was at this event. They are doing a landing gear check prior to flight. When the pilot flew this one, every one else grounded their planes, as this thing dominated the field! I took a video and will post it with a bunch of other videos I took. There was one guy flying who did some really tricky stuff that you will see. The skill level here is amazing, and you need a speicial jet pilot's licence to fly these machines.
None of these videos are very long, and if you have time, take a look. I did not have near enough camera with me to take pictures of these planes flying. You need mega lenses on your camera.
This first video in not very good, plane goes out of frame for a bit, but at the end of the short video, and the reason I posted it, was you can see an after burner light up at the back of the jet's engine! It is actually an LED series of lights, but it looked way too cool, and I wanted to show you... (These jets do not have actual after burners on them.)
I will stop here posting videos, as that is probably all you can take...lol
We had a great day, and spent over 4 hours at a very hot event. We figured out there was also the odd fire ant at this event, and have the bites to prove it! Sneaky little guys that you don't see all the time!
Great day overall that I really enjoyed, and all it did was make me want to start flying my plane again!