the air show has come and gone again. Seems like only a few weeks ago
that I was writing a column about how to go to the air show: "Get
your tickets early to save money, go early and take a lawn chair,
remember to take the sunscreen," and all the air show essential
information and inside tips.
Apparently, most of you people did not heed my advice,
as usual, and a lot of you were standing or sitting on hot asphalt and
are probably still sporting a nice sunburn. Well, sorry Ďbout that,
but I tried to tell you.
If I close my eyes itís almost as if Iím still
It is a great air show year because the fabulous Air
Force Thunderbirds are making an appearance. The crowds tend to swell
when the top attractions come to town, and who can blame them? Boy,
are they ever super! Everyone is on their feet watching and applauding
the various maneuvers, as if the pilots can really hear us over the
roar of the jet engines. Heck, Iím so carried away with them I think
Iíll even split for of those $14 Thunderbird T-shirts.
Course, it is a long standing tradition with me to go
to the air show every year. I went to one a long time ago and I am
hooked for life. I LOVE air shows! You donít need to know a thing
about aircraft or the military to enjoy the thrills. Fortunately,
there are people who do know all about things like G-force, and they
explain everything patiently over the microphone to the crowd who
pretends to understand, but really doesnít care.
We just like the flying! Yeah! Hammerheads, Cuban
loops, spirals, upside down passes, dives, twists, turns, smoke, bombs
- yeah! Thatís what we like!
Another great flying team, the Red Barons, are here
this year too. They fly those old bi-winged WWI planes and do
everything in formation that the other planes do solo. They are really
something to see.
And the Thunderbirds, well they are just magnificent -
thatís all. So graceful, so precision, so fast - man, it makes a
tear come to my eye to know they are trained just like all the other
Air Force pilots and perform the same maneuvers, only at a lower
altitude and in a tighter formation.
Well, what can I say? Great public relations gimmick!
They shoulda brought a recruiter. Heck, I would sign up on the spot,
if the Air Force was taking grandmothers this week.
The announcer assures us that the planes, F-16ís,
can be made combat ready, if needed, in a matter of a mere 72 hours,
and all the pilots are trained for combat. Darn, I wish I had a flag
to wave right now!
Yep, it is one big thrill. Can you believe that
diamond formation loop? And while everyone is entranced watching them,
a solo plane shoots by at low altitude from behind and catches us all
off guard. Pretty funny, guys!
And the exploding bomb maneuver, the way they fly up
and split off in different directions, looping around and passing back
close to each other. Four planes all coming directly at each other
from four direction and passing within what seems like mere feet!
Gosh, I may faint. That one is their most famous maneuver, the all
knowing announcer tells us.
Well, it is just another memory now, another year,
another air show. The traffic jam after the show is pretty memorable
too. Took about 50 minutes to get off the parking lot. Seems like they
could have planned a bit better than that. Wasnít like they didnít
know we were coming. Before the show, every Boy Scout in town is out
directing traffic. Afterwards, you are on your own, babe!
But, I just try to forget that part and think of the
flying. Maybe Iíll just slip on my new T-shirt to see how it fits. I
can dream, canít I?