CAF Airshow this weekend

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The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is having their annual airshow this coming weekend in Midland, Texas. I don’t much care for the ‘Commemorative’ swap for the founding ‘Confederate’, but even hard core Colonels can fall victim to political correctness.

The airshow itself is impressive, and the static displays are great, with many people who want, very badly, to answer your questions about all those great old warbirds.

And now, for my best recollection of the airshow, in 2001. I was walking the flightline with my then 10 y/o daughter, well away from the speakers’ stand and the big crowds. There were many folks in the grandstands, and we’d gotten there late, so we passed on the narrated flybys. That was our big mistake. No warning.

We’re walking along, and I’m wowing her with my airplane knowledge (no, honey, that’s a jet), when I hear the loudest single sound I’ve ever heard. I saw a blur go by on my left, and immediately knew what it was: a sonic boom by an F-18 flyby, about 200 yards off.

The effect on my daughter was those embarrased sobs that happen when they know they shouldn’t be crying, but the scared part of them won out, and now it won’t stop. This made a couple of very nice CAF Colonels come over and tell her it scared them, too, and she appreciated all the attention, tears and all. We still talk about the big boom.

Anyway, it’s a good show, and they literally aren’t making any more of these old warbirds. Go see it while you can.


  1. formerflyer says:

    For what it’s worth, that wasn’t a sonic boom. If it had been a sonic boom (shock wave from the passage of a supersonic aircraft) at air show distances, you’d have been witness to a couple thousand burst eardrums and been able to see first hand every pane of glass in an area of a couple hundred acres breaking simultaneously.

    Pilots doing demonstrations practice various ways of going by the flight line to show off different aspects of their aircraft’s performance. What you heard was the sound of a full-throttle afterburner during a very low altitude high speed pass. Still pretty scary, for sure, but not a sonic boom.

  2. Having been there… was a very short sonic boom. Having been at 24 CAF airshows in the last 12 years….it’s a tad easy to tell the difference.

    Some daily photos of the current show at: