steve dickey wrote:
So where you on the range?
What are the circumstances with the gun displays?
And lastly can you describe the sound?
We were on one of the target ranges that make up the Barry Goldwater Range in south-western Arizona. During the winter and spring the range does tours for civic groups and aviation photographer's groups. I'm not sure exactly how they are set up since I wasn't involved in that part of it. I just showed up where I was told and signed the form that says my heirs won't sue if we accidently get strafed.
Then we went and spent a few hours standing at the bottom of the spotter's tower watching A-10s and F-16s rearrange parts of the desert.
These aren't actually displays just the normal training exercises that happen to be scheduled for that day. The planes generallly start out dropping practice bombs on a target about a mile from the spotters tower. After that they make two or three strafing runs each on gunnery targets that are much closer. During the gun runs the planes pass within 300 yards of the tower.
The sound is incredible. The first thing you hear after a plane fires is the shells going past you since they are obviously supersonic. The 20mm from the F-16s isn't really all that loud but the 30mm from the A-10s make a loud ripping sound as they go by. Then you get the sound of the gun itself. The F-16s is sort of a low buzz sound. The A-10s is an amazingly loud chainsaw noise. All in all a really cool experience that I would not hesitate to repeat if I get the chance.
Here is a link to a few more of the 600 photos I took. http://www.flickr.com/photos/planecurator/