If you know what the phrase “Duck and cover” means, and probably practiced it, you know what this object is. Living in the Los Angeles area during the Cold War era I also know what an air raid siren sounds like. The Civil Defense authorities would test all of the sirens at 10:00 A.M. on one Friday a month, and if we were in school we were taught to duck under our school desks, crouch down in and curl our bodies in on themselves, and cover our heads with our hands. We were curled in to almost a fetal position waiting for our doom from the blast and tremendous heat of an exploding atomic bomb over our heads.
We were fortunate that we never had a bomb explode over us, and are fortunate that humanity has moved past the immediate threat of atomic annihilation, but others have not been as fortunate as us, either those who lived through the German V-1 bombing in Great Britain before our generation, or those who have lived through the “Shock And Awe” bombing in contemporary Bagdad. The sound the sirens make is all too real for these people, as is the impact of the devastation created by warring nations.
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This is a Grumman F8F “Bearcat” receiving some tender loving care in the sunshine adjacent to the Fighter Rebuilders hanger at the Planes of Fame museum, Chino Airport, Chino, California. The Bearcat, one of the still flying aircraft exhibited at the museum, was developed in 1943/44 as a fighter interceptor designed specifically for carrier operations but was not deployed to the fleet by the United States Navy until after the end of the second world war in 1945. This aircraft is capable of lifting off the deck after a take off run of just 115 feet, and in 1972 a Bearcat broke its own record by achieving an altitude of 18,000 feet 91.9 seconds after take off; in 1989 a Bearcat set the World Speed Record for piston driven aircraft at 528.33 mph.
In post processing this image, I am again reminded of a bad habit I have of getting so excited about an image in my viewfinder, that I lose the benefit of approaching the subject in a slow, deliberative manner, and in the case of this image forgot to adjust the ISO setting down from what I was using inside of a hanger making the previous shots. The result is a bit of unwanted grainy effect in parts of the aircraft fuselage, elevator and tail.