Sunday, April 1, 2007

She Shall Thunder in the Sky

Not only is the title a play on an Elizabeth Peters title, it's also a 6 word story. I will add even more words because that's what I do.

Went to a local airshow Saturday and in the Thunderbirds grand finale, both Right Wing and Opposing Solo were flown by female pilots. Right Wing is the first woman to fly for the Thunderbirds. Just think, the rules about women in combat would have changed early enough for me to actually achieve my first career goal of being a Thunderbird pilot! But it's just as well that I'm not. I'm not so focused on any one thing that I would have been a front runner pilot. Also, I get motion sick since the mono in college, I have bad eyes, I'm not very competitive or athletic, I hate bureaucracy, and I never finished my application to the Air F.orce A.cademy.

But I greatly admire people who do make it to the team. The performance and precision really is a thing of beauty. Although if I may stereotype for a moment, maybe if they let gays strut their stuff they could get some new choreography.

I think I just wanted to be able to do the opposing flyby manouever where the two solos come at each other very low and head on, both rotate 90deg right at the last minute, and sneak by with plane bottoms facing each other. Here's the half of that I caught on film.

I was invited to go by a new local friend. We had a lovely, if long, day. The two of us set out early then her pilot husband brought the kids to join us for the afternoon. The weather was nice - not too hot, not too foggy. The grass was dry for sitting upon. We got to talk about books before the others showed up. There was all manner of fattening food available, but we just had hot dogs and whatever we'd brought with from Trader Joes.

The aerobatic planes were good - the afternoon one was far superior. My friend and her husband know the pilot, who is in his 70s and still pulling hard g's. Her husband was able to say what was difficult about the tricks. In all performance hobbies there are things that are hard and things that look cool and they don't always overlap. So I kept asking if a cool looking trick was actually hard or something fairly easy that is used to rest up between hard tricks. Turns out Bill was mostly doing very hard stuff in his biplane. (A biplane!)

There was also a tribute type flight that had a WWII mustang leading the next generations of fighters which was moving. And right overhead!

My favorite thing of the day, though was the F22. Those planes are really cool and have a tight enough turning radius they could flip a U-ie on a Boston street. But what did I like so much about them? The noise, the power, the smoke, the display. Exactly the same draw as at tractor pulls!

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