Sunday, June 6, 2010

No Angel Show, But Awesome

My youngest grandson likes to make the zzooommm and booom sounds when you read him a story book about planes or race cars. He eagerly points out overhead planes or trucks, cars and busses on the street. He might have enjoyed the show we saw yesterday, except very loud noises scare him. The stuff we heard yesterday was making babies cry.
On an impulse we drove to Chippewa Falls, WI for their annual air show. Reading the advanced publicity last week, Jon commented he would like to see the Blue Angel who were scheduled to perform. If you have ever seen them or their Air Force counterpart the Thunderbirds you would drive to Chippewa Falls too.
Years ago, after an especially snowy winter, we met friends from New Hampshire in Las Vegas. I felt guilty visiting "Sin City" with an elementary kid in tow, but with a cheap flight and reduced hotel costs it worked to meet there. We didn't do the typical Vegas thing. With a car we did trips in the area. One morning on our way to Death Valley, we stopped at a diner outside of town for breakfast. Next thing we know the dishes were rattling and we almost covered our ears due to the noise. "What was that?" we asked the waitress. She said, "Go outside and look over the fence". We did and saw the cafe was backed up to the fence next to an airstrip where the Thunderbirds were practicing. We were at Nellis AFB. I don't remember finishing the breakfast but I will never forget this close up view of their manuevers. What a show.
We had the cheap seats again yesterday. We parked by the fence at the regional airport. The show began with sky dive teams parachuting and stunt planes doing loop-de-loops and manuevers with stalled engines. We were also fooled a few times when we heard a screaming jet engine on the strip and expected to see a jet taking off only to spot a school bus with a jet engine driving on the strip. Amusing. I don't think it had wings or it would have flown.
After the warm-up acts, we were awestruck as an F-16 did manuevers for about fifteen minutes. The power and speed of that bird is amazing. The pilot did what the smaller biwing stunt plane had done but with a lot more speed. I don't think he did an engine kill though. Awesome. Can you imagine what that sounds like on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier? One especially close to the ground pass made the babies cry. Our Roman would have been traumatized. We were simply amazed. It also struck me how scary it must be to be at the receiving end of fly overs like that if you are at war with the USA.
It began to rain heavily and we didn't stay to see the Blue Angels. I don't know if they even performed. It was still worth the drive to see that F-16.
They are doing the show again today and I wouldn't mind going back. We just have time to make it if we leave as soon as church is over.
My son in-law Mike, whose brother is an Air Force pilot, would have loved this.

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