Milpitas Camera Club Field Trip
Field Trip: Salinas Airshow
Trip Date: August 8, 2009
Report Author: Scott Hinrichs
Report Date: August 19, 2009

Approximately three club members and three or four associates made their way to the California International Airshow the weekend of August 7 to 10 at the Salinas Airport. This was the 29th year for this ever-popular event, which hosted the US Navy Blue Angels, a parachute jump team from the Army and some pretty large cargo planes, including a C-130 cargo plane from the Rhode Island Air National guard.

The three-day event included a fireworks show on Friday and two performances by the Blue Angels on Saturday and Sunday. The highlights included a demonstration of an anti-tank fighter-bomber called the Wart Hog; a wing walker on a biplane; a jet-powered glider; and an appearance by a 30-ton dinosaurian robot called Rosaurus which torched and munched an automobile to the delight of the spectators. There was also a simulated napalm and bombing run, but I would prefer to see a real drop-without being in Afghanistan, of course. There was much more than I have space to report. Overall, it was a pretty darn good airshow.

According to another club member the airfield was wall-to-wall bodies on Saturday, but the Sunday crowd was relatively sparce, allowing our party to kick back and relax in the cool patch of shade cast by the wing of a massive C-130 cargo plane.

Of course, the Blue Angels took center stage for the show, but I enjoyed the other spectacles, too, since I have seen the Angels perform more than a few times before. They pretty much do the same things every time.

The show was staged by about 700 volunteers and cost a cool $1.3 million to put on. The proceeds, of about $250,000, go to charities including the American Cancer Society, the Girl Scouts and the United Way.

The event, of course, was a happy hunting ground for the Army, Navy and the Marines, and practically every pilot was involved in some branch of the service. The whole event amounted to huge commercial for the armed forces-but without the military jets and the well-trained pilots the airshow would be nothing more than an airfield with a few vintage planes parked in a row. Now, who would drive all the way to Salinas to see just that?

I wish someone, someday would put on a show where they really blow up a building or sink a big ship or destroy a small planet-You know, something really spectacular!

© 2009 S.R. Hinrichs