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Abilene Road Trip

May 12, 2012

Disclaimer: No railroad-related content in this post. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. However, if you have any interest in USAF bombers….

We made a quick road trip to Abilene, Texas  a couple of weeks ago. Our oldest son, Andy,  is a Senior Airman stationed at Dyess AFB. He invited us to join him at the Dyess Big Country Air Fest that took place this past April 28th.

We enjoyed a long, hot day on the Dyess flight line. I ended up with way too many images to post here, but here are a few of my favorites.

Dyess is home to the 7th Bomb Wing, operating 40 B-1B bombers in a training capacity stateside and combat missions over Afghanistan. Here’s s/n 86-0108 on display.

S/N 85-0090 taxied by us several times

Later, the 090 did a high-speed, wings swept back flyover :

The B-1’s immediate predecessor, the B-52 was on hand from Barksdale AFB in Shreveport.

The B-52’s mission has evolved dramatically over the years.  It began as a strategic nuclear bomber in the 1950’s, becoming a conventional carpet-bomber in Viet Nam in the 1960’s, later a cruise-missile platform in the 1980’s and 90’s, and now a tactical bomber in Iraq and Afghanistan. USAF intends to keep the B-52 in service until 2045, more than 85 years after the B-52 entered service and an unprecedented length of service for a military aircraft.

Later, a B-2 from Whiteman AFB did a few passes over Dyess. It’s hard for me to grasp how an airplane can cost over $2 billion dollars, $2.131 billion (1996 dollars) to be precise, but it’s still an amazing thing to see fly by.

At the other end of the cost spectrum is the A-10 Thunderbolt, a steal at $11.8 million (1994 dollars). The A-10 is unique in that the aircraft was designed around the GAU-8 30mm cannon, among the largest, heaviest and most powerful aircraft cannons U.S. military. Designed specifically as an anti-tank weapon, the GAU-8  delivers very powerful depleted uranium rounds at a high rate of fire.

A wide spectrum of other aircraft, from Japanese Zero fighters to a USAF KC-10 tanker were on hand. They may be the subject of a later post. We shall see…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Howard Bingham permalink
    May 12, 2012 12:23 am

    I’m more in tune with older aircraft such as the C-47, B-24, B-25, B-36, same as with trains, steam is POWER… 😉

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