Monday, March 28, 2016

With permission; /s/ C C Pepple

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Night time aerial acrobatics
TICO Air Show; Titusville, FL

This 4-plane formation thrilled the large crowd as they performed as part of the first-ever night airshow at this popular annual event near NASA's Cape Kennedy facility.

The dark smudge in the lower center of the top photo was smoke from a large grass fire that local departments fought most of the day including the use of a helicopter doing air dumps of water in an effort to control the blaze.

During a helicopter segment in the afternoon the fire fighting helicopter was invited by radio to join the other helicopters passing in review and added the bonus of a close peek at his airborne dumping rig.

In the picture (right) the three lower lights are runway lighting and gave the breath-taking impression the diving aircraft needed to do a quick recovery from their flight's course in order to avoid catastrophe.

Two, WWII B-25 bombers--the type of aircraft used in Jimmy Dolittle's raid on Tokyo in April 1942--passed in review to celebrate that memorable event which happened just a little over 4 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

The USA was both stunned and militarily crippled in that attack while the Japanese continued their assault across the South Pacific.  The Dolittle raid bolstered morale in the US and was a turning point in the war.

The Japanese suddenly realized their homeland was in danger and had to deploy forces in its defense thus weakening their aggression.

In that raid 16 B-25s were launched from two US Navy aircraft carriers--the first time ever that was accomplished with multi-engine bombers.  All crash landed after their bombing runs because they had insufficient range to return to the carriers.

We suffered the loss of 3 pilots in those crashes and 8 others who were captured by the Japanese and were executed or died as prisoners of war.  Most others survived by crash landing in China.  Nationalist Chinese were our allies in WWII; later losing their own war to the Communist Chinese in 1949.

Doolittle's co-pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Cole, one of the two living survivors of the raid, was actively greeting TICO airshow visitors during the afternoon and we had the very random honor of being seated at a table next to his party at a local restaurant that evening with his very near-by presence stimulating our awareness of his place in US history.

Another highlight of the show was the amazing performance of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, introduced in 1994 and, as of 2015, remaining the second most common currently operational military aircraft in the world.

Imagine the excitement of that warbird doing a low pass in front of the crowd at 9/10 the speed of sound.  It is capable of flying Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) at altitude in clean configuration (no exterior armament).

I'm still tingling from the sight of it doing close formation aerobatics with a P-51 Mustang, a propeller driven, key player in WWII aerial combat and my idea of the most classic airplane design--ever!

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Ohio Geocaching friend Bill Neihoff (known as the Lighthouse Nut in geocaching circles) takes a leisurely approach to shooting a group photo of the rest of our caching platoon at an Audubon Society facility in Polk County FL recently.

He and his bride Diane were spending some time in the area and we, along with other Ohio caching friends Greg and Leslie, were their guests for a four-day romp in the area generally between Tampa and Orlando.

Our featured caching effort involved the many preserved, natural areas of Polk County each with one geocache designed to attract cachers to visit where scenes like the above were commonplace.

We wound up our caching at the Bok Tower in Lake Wales where their visitor's center proudly displays their adopted name, America's Taj Mahal.  Click here and take a closer peek.  That's Roger (Zip) an in-law the the Neihoff's with his back to the camera, with Greg, Diane, Sue, Leslie and Bill shown in clockwise order.

The following weekend found us at the NY Mets baseball, Spring training facility for their home opener of the pre-season at Port St. Lucie, FL.

We were treated to a nail-biting contest which finished 9 innings with the teams tied 4 to 4--whereupon, rather than moving into extra innings, everyone grabbed up their gear and disappeared from the field.  Evidently Spring training games don't feature baseball's equivalent of overtime.

That's our Syracuse, NY friend Dick Weeks with the blue ball cap in the right foreground.  His sister-in-law Wendy Smart is the gal in the light green top with her hubby Brad behind her peering toward the camera.  Her mom and step-dad are to her left where we were enjoying terrific seats looking down on the third base line near home plate.

Over 7,000 fans nearly filled their very modern stadium, Tradition Field.