I got back from vacation in Arizona earlier this week and while in Sedona, we took a tour in a Jet Ranger. The pilot was very good, but a bit gruff. Not a lot of humor coming out of this guy… I told him I had 100’s of hours in a Jet Ranger in Flight Simulator and he wasn’t impressed and certainly wasn’t going to let me fly. Anyway, I can’t help but compare what I’m seeing and feeling to Flight Simulator and it was pretty close to how I feel ours flies. Of course our Sedona scenery isn’t very good at conveying the beauty of the place.
Later on we went to Phoenix and then on to Tucson. While in Tucson I went to the Pima Air and Space Museum and I took the Davis Monthan boneyard tour. The boneyard is spectacular with the number of nearly ready to fly military aircraft and sad knowing many of them never fly back out. With the F-14 officially retired there were many of them already there and several were in the salvage area where parts are stripped for other aircraft (that was on the sad side of the base). Lot’s of F-4’s waiting to be converted into target drones where they will be completely destroyed (another sad fact), Then there are the B-52’s being chopped into pieces to satisfy an arms treaty and a bunch of C-141 Star Lifters being cut up for scrap because the military sees no value in them. On a positive note, the A-10’s were veing rebuilt to get more cycles out of them and they had a nice line-up of fairly well preserved historic aircraft on display as well. It really was an interesting tour albeit on a bus, but I learned a few things and got to see a working boneyard.
The Pima museum has a great selection of rare aircraft, and the hargared aircraft are in very good shape. The dessert does help keep the aircraft outside preserved, but I was disappointed to see them faded and tattered. Even in Arizona aircraft deteriorate and fall apart. I was an idiot and didn’t take the digital camera, so I borrowed my wife’s inexpensive 35 mm camera and took 4 rolls of film while I was there. I tried to focus on aircraft that I thought were particularly interesting or that I would like to see in Flight Sim in the future. When I get the film developed I’ll try to post some pictures.