Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vettes and Jets 2011

USS Lexington AVT-16 is an Essex-class carrier built (mostly by women) during WW2. For many years she was stationed in Pensacola, Florida as training carrier. Navy aircrew, including many future astronauts, learned the important art of carrier landings on the "Lex." Based in Corpus Christi, Texas, she is the oldest surviving aircraft carrier in the world. The weekend of September 10-11 she was host to "Jets and Vettes on the Lex," a Corvette show with nearly 350 cars on display. Photo is of a former Naval aircrew with her current ride. In background is one of the T-2 Buckeye jet trainers that operated off Lexington.

One of our F-14 Tomcats in the colors of VF-84 "Jolly Rogers," Carrier Air Wing 8 assigned to USS Nimitz. F-14 pilots and Radar Intercept Officers (RIO) loved fast cars, Corvettes or Porsches. Early Saturday morning our cars rode the aircraft elevator to the flight deck.

Looking forward from Lexington bridge. An F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors also sits near a catapult. The Hornet has replaced the F-14 as the US Navy's primary carrier-borne fighter.

Looking aft with A-3 Skywarrior. From the 1960's, the Corvette was preferred car of NASA astronauts. Pete Conrad's Apollo 12 crew rode to training 3 matching Vettes. The Corvette is considered the only American sports car in continuous production. As the astronauts' preferred ride, Corvettes are also a part of NASA history.