By now everyone has heard about the disaster yesterday, how one of the beloved Blue Angels crashed and burned during practice for a show right here in my hometown. The entire town is devastated and anticipation has turned to grief today. Many people here are retired military who served at the former air force field where the show is held and the community has a special bond with flying. The following is a column I wrote years ago that shows the excitement we feel about our air show. I offer it in tribute to Captain Jeff Kuss. The air show is still on this year, but our favorite team will not fly. God bless the Blue Angels who provide public relations and recruiting for our military as they serve our country.
Every year about this time, it happens – the air show! I don’t know exactly what it is about air shows, but somehow they seem to strike a nerve of excitement. Something about those loops, barrels, and Cuban eights just makes me come alive!
I use to never go to the air show, even though it was right here in my hometown. Then one year, I decided to go. I loved it! I was hooked. Now I can hardly wait for the air show to come.
Yep, I’d risk almost anything for a good air show – sunburn, crowds, major traffic jams, rain threat – nothing can deter me. I’ve become almost a pro at watching I’ve learned how to get my tickets the day before the show, to take my own snacks and water to avoid the extraordinary prices charged by the vendors, to be sure to remember the sunscreen, and to take my lawn chair. I have a special hat to wear to keep the sun off my head, big enough to do the job but with a small brim so the view in the sky is not obstructed. And of course, bring those sunglasses.
The pro watcher always starts early to allow for the lineup of traffic going into the show. After arriving, I take my lawn chair, go immediately to the front and sit it up right at the rope for the best view. Once I stake my claim to a prime spot, I am free to wander.
While I wait for the show, I can visit a few of the static exhibits. Look at all those dials on the dash. Wonder what they are all for? Might even sit in the cockpit of a plane and pretend I am getting ready to take off for the wild blue yonder. I can talk to some of the staff that fly the planes and make some great pictures standing by the planes.
The flying, of course, is what I am here for. It is never a disappointment. I don’t have to know a thing about planes or the military to enjoy the amazing spectacle and realize the skill involved as they trail smoke, loop, dive, and do hammerheads.
Of course, the best shows are when one of the big groups comes: The Thunderbirds, the Snowbirds, or the Blue Angels. All others pale in comparison to the thrills they provide for the crowd. Some people can distinguish a favorite. I have trouble doing this. They are each so incredible in their skill and precision that there are not enough superlatives to describe the demonstration they give.
So, the air show is coming again this year. I will get tired, and bit sunburned, and have trouble trying to wind down. It’s a great show! Wish you all could be here!
Copyright 1998 – 2016 Sheila Moss
Permission Granted to Republish