Boeing just announced it’s year end deliveries for the year 2011. On the fast jet side, the company produced 49 F/A-18/EA-18 airframes and 15 F-15 Strike Eagles. Bringing the total to 64 airframes produced in 2011.
Boeing reached it’s highest production peak of F-15’s this year since 1999, when 35 airframes were delivered. Production of the F/A-18 airframes fell by one from last year’s peak of 50, mainly due to the Australian AF/A-18 finishing deliveries early in the third quarter.
The years 2012-2014 are expected to have a major drop in overall deliveries mainly because of a lack of exports for the F/A-18 Super Hornet and a production break in the F-15 line. Totals will pick up again in 2015, when the Saudi F-15 Deal and (potentially) other Super Hornet exports begin.
The 131st Fighter Wing really showed support when the Cards won in ‘06..
I wish I could write a proper review of this airshow.
The Fair St. Louis Airshow was brought back last year because of high demand. I mean, its a pretty cool sight to see planes do tricks under the arch who would not want to see that?
Performers wise, this year was a major step up from the last. There was a lot more military action included with this show where as last year was 100% civilian save an F-15K flyby from Boeing and a C-130 flyby from the Missouri ANG.
I got to go on a ramp tour before the show started (there were five shows in total between Sat and Monday each 90 min long) which was a very cool experience. Again I don’t own an SLR and my digital camera was not available so only a few droid pics were taken from the tour. I then headed to East St. Louis lookout station for the airshow. Its a nice little park with a three story high rise directly across the river and arch. Needless to say it was crowded with media and photographers.
Saturday’s airshow was to be opened up with a flyby by the B-2 Spirit. The thing about this park; you have to cross two train tracks to get into it. A train was just so happened to be stopped on one of those tracks for thirty minutes. By the time it moved the Spirit was already over the sky. It made a total of four flyby’s all of which I could not catch on camera because I was still on the road. Saturday’s airshow was not the complete show. The USN Legacy Flight and C-130 demonstration complete with special forces Black Daggers did not show up in time for the show. The airshow sponsors were smart enough to get the marines Osprey and Harrier to return to St. Louis after Marine week for the airshow. However they were not proper demonstration teams so each aircraft only did flybys.. the harrier did not actually hover. With the heat index at 105 degrees I called in quits about half way through since the rest of the show was civilian props. I planned to go back the next day and see the entire airshow as it should be seen with all the performers.
Sadly severe storms swept through the area that Sunday and lasted several hours even though there was only a 25% chance of precipitation (A STL tradition). On Monday I did not go that way because it was the fourth of July and sitting in traffic two hours there and back was just not worth the hassle when rain was still in the area.
So I have to say that for me Fair St. Louis 2011 was a disappointment. It was just a case of bad luck with broken trains, severe storms, and traffic that prevented this past weekend from reaching it’s full potential. The airshow organizers did a great job with handling the show, considering the only military support they get is flyby’s they made darn sure it was going to be the best flyby’s you would ever see. My only complaint was consistency. The website stated that all the performers were going to fly on each airshow, yet every airshow was missing something from the other. The B-2 was the only announced performer that was going to be making one appearance. Some times aircraft flew other times they did not according to other reviews and pictures I have seen.
I did manage to get some footage of T-38 talons and the Rhino recovering at Lambert. Interesting enough, the Rhino was based off Boeing’s flight ramp but the actual aircraft itself was not one of Boeing’s but from VFA-122, and there was no back-up bird either. Overall all performers did an amazing job with the tight air box of the Riverfront, and caused plenty of traffic jams over the bridge from distracted drivers. I hope the show returns next summer, this time with ACC/Naval support (Follow the Marine Way Guys).
Complete List of Performers (None of the shows had them all performing at once)
Update: I DID NOT take this picture above. It was released to public domain
from a news wire.