MOLINE -- A few lucky Quad-Citians got an air show preview Friday when they discovered where a pair of F-22 Raptors, America's new fighter aircraft, had come to roost.
The planes announced their presence Friday afternoon when one went roaring above the Quad City International Airport, all gun-gray power and speed. The other could be seen parked on the south side of the airport at Elliot Aviation where 15 or 20 people gathered to get a glimpse of the high-tech war machines.
The fighters are part of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Demonstration Team appearing today and Sunday at the Quad City Air Show at Davenport Municipal Airport.
Keith Glass, 11, Moline, stood close to the high chain-link fence that blocked access to the airport runways, watching as ground crew in dark uniforms inspected the Raptor. He said he's loved airplanes since he was about 5, when his mother took him to see the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron that flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
"I knew right then and there I loved airplanes," Keith said.
Donna Evans, his grandmother, said she and Keith's grandfather, Dave, realized the fighters were there. Since their car only had two seats, her husband left her at the fence and went to get Keith.
As the crowd watched, the F-22 that had taken off returned, flew low over the runway, then shot straight back up into the air before the pilot looped it around and landed. The exhaust from its engines waffled the air like gasoline fumes for 50 or 60 feet behind the aircraft and tumbled the grass around the runway like storm wind.
The pilot steered the plane to where its counterpart sat. Just before he turned it into the parking area, its nose faced the crowd with the pilot's head, encased in helmet and air mask, visible through the gold-tinted canopy as he waved to the spectators.
When the plane came to a stop, two ground crewmen began an inspection. They moved around the Raptor with precise parade ground movements.
Donna Evans said it seemed like a ritual.
"They turn and salute after every action," she said.
Keith said it was the first time he had seen an F-22, but said he once was able to sit in the cockpit of an F-18 Hornet. His favorite, he confided, is the F-16.
He said he plans to get his pilot's license as soon as he is able.
"I never get tired of them (airplanes)," Keith said.
If you go:
The 28th annual Quad City Air Show is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the Davenport Municipal Airport, 9230 N. Harrison St., Davenport.
Admission is free for kids 3 and younger; $10 at for kids 4 to 10; and $20 for all others. Adult weekend passes is $25. Parking is $5 at the gate.
For a complete schedule, visit quadcityairshow.com.
Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation. 1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.