Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Chicago Air & Water Show
Inbound to the staging airport while the air show is active
The Blue Angels were parked on the far east end of the ramp—their F/A-18 Hornets lined up in a perfect row. As their time slot approached, the pilots marched out in a perfectly choreographed routine. They climbed the ladders to their cockpits and donned their helmets in unison. They taxied out in sequence and took off one at a time. The first two jets climbed straight out, and the next two rolled into an immediate knife-edge bank. (Gee, I had been taught to climb out straight and level.) The last two took off, and in an instant, they were all out of sight. When those guys move out with that kind of horsepower, it really does send shivers down your spine.
At the end of the show, I hopped a lift back to the Cessna and took my time preflighting, savoring the afternoon’s events. I shot about five landings back at Lansing before tying the 152 down for the evening. I digested what had transpired—lots of action made totally manageable by virtue of some careful preflight planning. Traffic density had been light, and throwing myself into the mix hadn’t been a problem. As I walked toward my car, one of the Blue Angels flew overhead, headed southwest, perhaps toward the next stop on the air show schedule. Then I saw another, same track, just a couple of minutes behind. Then another. Eventually, they all flew past, as if to say, “Mike, see you later!”
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