Saturday, October 04, 2008

Stealth sightings.

Today was the Air Force-Navy football game here in the Springs. Whenever the Air Force Academy plays another branch of the military, they pull out all the stops for the pre-game show. Usually that means either the Thunderbirds flying in formation or B-52s circling the stadium. Today we got a real show...a B-2 Stealth Bomber.

I remember seeing a Stealth flying around the city once before. I can't remember whether it was for a game, an air show, a graduation, or something else. Over the four years we've lived here it's become pretty normal for our family to hear bombers or fighters or something flying over our house. It happens so often it's almost old hat. But a Stealth? That's something special, even for us.

I was out for a walk with Libbie when I first noticed it circling. We were on our way to the local junior high so that Libbie could run off leash on their softball field. About halfway there she stopped to do her business and I noticed the unfamiliar triangular shape floating above me, nearly silent, in the sky. Most of the Air Force planes that fly over us are LOUD. They rattle the windows and send my girls running for cover. The Stealth was almost undetectable until after it had passed. It was flying clockwise around the city and by the time I got to the junior high it was on its second or third trip around. I was standing at about ten o'clock on the plane's route and could watch it the whole way around. As it approached me the first few times I have to admit...I was scared. It made me glad that I belong to the side with the Stealth. It's black and it's big and it doesn't have any windows, at least not that I could see. I kind of like to be able to make eye contact with people operating big machines so that they know I'm there. Standing under it is like being in a scary sci-fi movie. Or at least, it was for me. I obviously don't spend much time around huge, loud, powerful, multi-billion dollar (Wikipedia says they cost $2.1 billion each) killer machines. For me, a sight like that is intimidating.

Once Libbie was worn out, we started heading for home. As we did, the football game must have been ready to start. I saw a couple of fighter jets (F-22 Raptors, I think) heading toward the stadium followed by the Stealth. This time it wasn't quiet. It was flying significantly faster and, while not as loud as the fighters, I heard it coming from a long way off. As I watched it scream over my head all I could really think was, "Wow." It was a breathtaking sight.

While I was out walking the dog, Scott was home with the camera in hand. Here are a few of the shots he took from the hill behind our house.

The B-2 at the top of its flight path turning toward the east.

See that little dot above and to the left of Cheyenne Mountain? That's the B-2 again. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The F-22s heading toward the Academy. I have to say...they were a bit of a disappointment today. It's a lot more fun to watch them flying right next to one another. See how picky one gets when one is spoiled by frequent fighter jet sightings?


Michael said...

we saw a stealth bomber at a VT game once... a couple games a year they have military planes fly over, and during my parents visit it was a stealth bomber. It looked like a thing black line coming toward us and you were right, you couldn't hear a thing... then it went over the stadium and you could hear a light rumble but the sound wasn't as loud as you'd think. totally awesome.

Cristin Chao said...

I totally agree with you - the flying Stealth is totally cool to see! It is unlike anything else!