Sunday, August 28, 2005

 

MiG in the Morning

This weekend's airshow meant that Westfield played host to a number of distinctive aerial guests. The Thunderbirds lead the bill, followed by the usual collection of military and civilian displays as well as a small gaggle of warbirds. One of the more unusual performers arrived earlier this week, and it was impossible to miss such a brightly colored addition to the ramp. This is why one always brings a camera when going to the airport, even if it's just to fetch a headset left in the plane from the previous day's lesson.

MiG-17F NX117BR on the Five Star RampThis crimson critter is a MiG-17F, formerly of the Polish Air Force. It defended its corner of the Iron Curtain for 25 years before being retired in the mid 1970's. It eventually made it's way to the United Sates, and it now spends its retirement in the service of Red Bull, selling energy drinks.

Red Bull logoThe nose carries the company's charging bull logo and is fitted with more than enough armament to terrorize the typical class D airport.

What you don't want to see in your rear-view mirrorThe wing racks now carry smoke pods to enhance the MiG's visibility during airshow performances.

MiG SilhouetteThe MiG-17 was a follow-on to the MiG-15, with which it shares a very strong family resemblance. The 17 is larger, with a more powerful engine, but the overall lines changed very little.

F-4 Driver's viewFrom this angle, it looks like a slightly pudgy F-84F.

Striking markingsThe markings recall those worn by demonstration teams of the USSR. There are about 9 MiG-17's (Polish designation: LIM-5) on the US registry. Most of them have "17" somewhere in their N-numbers.

The MiG's companion PA-32The MiG is accompanied by this more sedately marked Piper Cherokee Six. Both aircraft are operated by an outfit called MiG Magic, based in Las Vegas, and are popular attractions at airshows nationwide. The Red Bull company operates a small fleet of aircraft, including an assortment of restored classics. They also host the spectacular Red Bull Air Race, which can be described as a high powered combination of pylon racing and aerobatics. And if that's not enough, they sponsor a bewildering variety of activities ranging from athletics to auto racing and even a music academy.

4 out of 5 surviving members of the Soviet Politburo prefer Red Bull!Drink Red Bull, the official athletic beverage of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!

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