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Thunderbirds

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Thunderbirds

On Friday, someone told me the air show at Hill Air Force base was being held over the weekend. I thought I had missed it last week when I was out of town. Later that evening I mentioned the air show to my wife and she agreed to go with me the next day.

Thunderbirds at Hill Air Force base air showSo my wife and I and 400,000 other people spent the day at the Air Fore base in the sun watching cool airplanes. Luckily it was only about 80 degrees and there was a light breeze for most of the time.

I am not a guy who likes big crowds and hot temperatures, but I do like airplanes. I wander around looking at military aircraft and feel a slight twinge of regret that I will never get the opportunity to fly any of these amazing machines. I would never have been accepted in the military as a pilot because of physical limitations so it would not have been available to me anyway but I find myself wishing I could have the chance to fly the airplanes and helicopters. I am certain there are lots of folks who feel the same way.

There was a long list of air show performers, most who were civilian, flying high performance piston engine aerobatic airplanes like Edge 540s. Now don’t get me wrong, I think these are awesome and beautiful airplanes, but I get a little tired of watching the high stress twisting, turning and end over end tumbling they do. It is impressive, to say the least, and these are real pilots who fly them. I admire these guys and gals and wish I understood aerodynamics and airmanship like they do. Aerobatics are not my thing though and I find watching the head jarring maneuvers they Thunderbirds at Hill Air Force base air showdo being almost uncomfortable.

I do enjoy watching the more old school aerobatics and as a 450 Stearman performed I was mesmerized. Perhaps part of this is the fact that I love Stearmans and someday hope to own one. These old military basic trainers sound good, look good and are good. What an experience it would be to experience the nostalgia, the vibration and the smell of one of these old machines.

The real reason I wanted to go to the show however, was to see the Thunderbirds. I don’t think there is a person on the planet that would not be completely impressed by the skill, precision, and professionalism of these pilots. Equally, the sheer power, noise, and capability of the F-16 is staggering to us civilian wannabes.

The graceful routine they fly in perfect unison while making earth shattering noise with beautiful music playing makes for a memorable experience everyone seems to love.

The wait for the Thunderbirds to fly at the end of the day was certainly worth the wait. Here are the few photos…

 

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