“The sky is the limit only for those who aren’t afraid to fly!”
Over the 4th of July holiday, my husband and I were guests of good friends in Traverse City Michigan. On Saturday we were treated to something that was a first for me – an airshow. Now I must admit, if you’d asked me to list the top 10 things on my “must see” list, an airshow would not have made the cut :-) Having seen one though, I am happy to report that the event was terrific. Shown above, a relic from the past, a biplane, which thrilled the crowd with loops, curls, dives and upside down flying that made us wonder how the pilot stayed conscious.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward”
Leonardo da Vinci
Somewhat more contemporary but still in the relic category, three early vintage planes added color and interest to the day with their precision flying and seeming ability to float on the clouds. While they and the biplane were fun and entertaining, the biggest surprise for me was the incredible flying of the famous Blue Angels.
“The secret of flight is this — you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.”
We waited anxiously for their appearance, searching the sky for a sign that they were near. As it turned out, we need not have worried, as their arrival was announced by the incredible roar of their engines. The speed at which they can fly (up to 1400 mph, climbing 30,000 feet per minute) is stunning, and the tricks they do are incredible. In the maneuver shown below (admittedly not the best photograph, but you get the idea!) two pilots approach each other from opposite directions and as they meet in mid-air both do a flip-over so that they are flying back-to-back before their high-speed separation.
“Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”
There were quite a few times when the pilots, flying amazingly close to each other (as close as 18 inches apart in their most famous diamond formation) were flying upside down or sideways. The photo below shows one plane upside down next to another right-side-up. I got dizzy just watching!
“Flying is like throwing your soul into the heavens and racing to catch it as it falls.”
The jets fly as high as 15,000 feet and as low as 50. Our show took place over Lake Michigan and it felt like the planes might have singed the hair on some of the boaters over whom them passed at their lowest points! I found it most interesting that the pilots do not wear special gear, rather they control G-forces by using muscle contractions.
“Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.”
So take my advice and if you ever have an opportunity to attend an airshow, do it :-) It may be the most amazing combination of artistry, daring, power and thrill as you’re ever likely to see.
To see some of the relics others chose to highlight, click here.