2010 Fair Saint Louis Air Show

Anne and I got up early on Saturday, too early for me after Friday’s late night.  I drove her downtown to catch her ride on the Megabus.  She is taking Megabus to Ann Arbor.  She’ll meet her folks there and then they’ll all drive up to the Cabin together.  The Megabus picked her up outside of Union Station, the old train station.  They don’t use the new bus/train station, I guess to cut costs.

Anne liked sitting on the upper deck for the better view.  It probably also reminded her of the double-decker red London buses of all too many years ago.  She had a few hour layover in Chicago and sent some blogable pictures.

I returned home, did some house work, ran errands, cut my hair cut, but not the grass.  I launch off on the bike about noontime and headed downtown again.  The Veiled Prophet Parade was winding down when I made it down there.  They were awarding prizes in the battle of the bands.  The air show had already begun too.  I was able to bike down Market on the still closed streets.

The Veiled Prophet was some 19th century Saint Louis businessmen’s invention, designed to generate publicity.  It has survived to this day in two forms, the parade and the Veiled Prophet Ball.  The ball is held in the winter and features debutantes (and their escorts), all from the upper crust of Saint Louis society.  The summer’s parade is much more plebian, but it does feature as its centerpiece this year’s court of the Veiled Prophet.

The first airplane picture with this post shows Gene Soucy, “Mr. Air Show”, with his young and lovely wing walking assistant. The Aeroshell Team was caught in the background.  A much better picture of the Aeroshell Team is next.

Today’s header and the picture of the Stearman Trainer above both include optical illusions.  These are illusions induced by parallax.  There is a much better example of this phenomenon; this wire service photo was taken last year in Detroit.  It features an F-18 seemingly rounding an apartment building, while a lone man stands exposed to the impending jet blast on his balcony.  In both of my pictures both planes are well into the distance.  The Arch in today’s header and the black bird with the Stearman photo were in the foreground.

The Stearman was my favorite airplane.  Possibly the oldest airplane in the show (built in 1943), it was certainly the oldest design (1930s).  The Stearman was the U.S. Army Air Force’s basic trainer.  As such it, this was the plane that they put pilot trainees into first, to teach them how to fly. Because of its age, it has twice the weight and has half the power of what modern aerobatic aircraft have.  Even so, it put on the best show.  It has one other important design feature, a gravity fed fuel system.  This means that whenever the pilot goes inverted, he is starving his engine.  The first time this occurred, the announcer, in conjunction with the pilot played the crowd like a fiddle.  After all the gasps the announcer exclaimed, “Gottcha!”

The final picture shows a North American B-25 bomber.  It was famously flown during World War II by the likes of Billy Mitchell, Duke Nassoiy (Anne’s uncle) and John Yossarian.  Its appearance was accompanied by a Grumman TBM-3 (not shown).  This World Was II navy torpedo bomber was once lost by the elder President Bush.  Both planes were supplied by the Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, formerly known as the Confederative Air Force.

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