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 Tuesday, Sept, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day. 1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House. 1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson.. 1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation. 1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today. 1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.