Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Don't stand so close to the fire next time

Listening to: Breathe - Midnight Oil (1996).

So before a big airshow in the UK a B-1 Lancer strategic bomber is lining up to take off and pratice its display. Just outside the airfield boundary there is a good spot in line with the runway for enthusiasts to sit and watch the arrivals and departures, well placed to get exciting action shots of afterburners at full blaze and the like. Some intrepid souls gather behind the aircraft, determined to get the best shot or experience possible.

The Lancer lines up and throttles all four engines up to maximum afterburner. One of the engines doesn't go into afterburner for some reason, so the pilot throttles back that engine and tries again. In the meantime the other three engines are left at max power, producing the maximum possible thrust and heat. The unexpected delay results in a little bit more excitement than the spectators behind the aircraft bargained for.....

Check out the video here (Embedding disabled so you will have to clicky the old fashioned way)

Totally shadenfreude I admit, but I have to laugh when the crowd starts scattering. Heck if they are dumb enough to put themselves in that position a little derision is practically mandatory. Besides, no-one was seriously hurt.

There is a more complete account of the incident and background here (linky). Would I be sitting on that fence given the opportunity? Absolutely. Would I be sitting on the fence right behind one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world? Absolutely not :) I'm not that keen.

Just randomly I have actually been to the base in the video, on a visit to the UK about twenty years ago. Being the middle of winter it wasn't quite as sunny.

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