Monday, April 30, 2012

World War 1 Air Show in Pungo

Almost 100 years ago, the first aerial battles were fought during World War I. It was a different era where new fangled flying machines represented the state-of-the-art in speed and technology. Horse calvary was still relevant and tanks were just appearing in the muddy trenches.

Last year I attended avery unique air show in Pungo, Virginia at the Military Aviation Museum. The featured planes were all World War I vintage, more than likely scaled replicas.

Seeing these wood and cloth planes is kind of like looking a kite with a machine gun attached. 

Today we have stealth bombers, remote controlled drones and satellites, but all our current technology owes a great deal to these earlier pioneers and soldiers of the air.

In the photo below, the World War 2 era P-51 snuck into the background and illustrates the difference that 30 years can make on the battlefield, even ones in the air.

Instead of sitting in a dusty museum, bi-planes and tri-planes zoomed past the crowds in glorious flight.

The first airplanes had less horsepower than most cars on the road today. They employed different shapes and multiple wings for improved lift... two or three wings were better than one, right?

These types of events attract enthusiasts and enactors who are interested in the time period.

Evidently long sleeves were the norm back then, even when it was hot.

I met one gentleman who had an authentic Harley Davidson motorcycle that had seen actual war duty over in France where he found it. It was a joy to see and hear the old hog run. It was a noisy clattertrap.

There were a lot of Germans in uniform.

WW1 machines are not often seen at air shows. In fact, I would say that this was a very rare showing.

The planes had markings that identified the pilot or the air group (or what ever they were called back then).

As the sun went down, hot air balloons were launched over the field.

The fellow below had a solo hot air balloon just like the urban legend about the guy that tied a bunch of helium balloons to his lawn chair.

This show gets top rank, and should not be missed if you are in the Virginia Beach area.