Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When Hogs Fly

Nope, I was plumb sober when I saw hogs flying overhead about noon today. I was operating the Allis Chalmers D17 above 4,000 rpm so I didn't hear the first one coming until it was just above and behind my back.

For a nanosecond or so, the sound of two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines had me thinking the D17 was going to break apart. Then I saw the A-10 Warthog blast past, so low I could see barren hardpoints and the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger muzzles protruding from its snout. A few seconds later, the second A-10 Thunderbolt II shot over the hedge rows and past the east ridge.

I suspect the two Warthogs were heading back to Whiteman Air Force Base, home of the 303rd Fighter Squadron. It is part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit. The 303rd returned from a deployment at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in June.

The 303rd won the 2006 Hawgsmoke competition and hosted the 2008 competition at Smoky Hill Weapons Range, a 54-square-mile area near Salina, Kans. It wasn't the first time people from Missouri crossed into Kansas for shooting practice. Nonetheless, I was pleased to see warriors on the wing today.Godspeed!


Brigid said...

I love that airplane. Wish I'd got to fly one.

Somerled said...

Both of them made the earth move under the old orange beast. I had the rabbit-below-the-hawk feeling for a sec. I was happy the Allis can't be mistaken for a T-80.