The Thunderbirds were in town for the Eglin AFB air show this past weekend and needless to say we spent Sunday wandering the flight line and enjoying the show.
In years past, parking for the air show has been close to the flight line but this year they directed everyone to several different parking areas throughout the base and then shuttled everyone to the show in buses.
I had no idea that these old Bluebirds could be so comfortable. Padded seats, AC - not anything like the buses I rode as a kid.
The newspaper mentioned a "Weapons Petting Zoo" and the boys were so excited they were about to pop.
Lucky for us it was the first thing we saw as we came through the gate.
If I had one of these puppies for my car summer traffic would be no problem.
There were planes of every kind on display.
This Caribou caught the Island King's attention
This sign inside caught mine.
There are patches all over this plane and after seeing all of them it's hard to believe this plane made it home.
The boys loved getting in this Vietnam era Huey and handling the weapons.
While they were in the Huey the Island Girl and I found a shady spot to wait and ended up talking to a man standing there looking at the helicopter.
He told us that he'd been dropped off in the middle of the jungle many times by Hueys. He said he was a "tunnel rat" and spent 3 years "flushing them out of the tunnels."
I commented that it must have been terrifying and he told me that he still has nightmares to this day.
After he walked off the Island Girl told me that she'd just finished studying the Vietnam war in school and that it was really something to hear this man talk about it.
"It's a lot more real when you listen to him tell it" she said.
Yes, it is.
There was a demonstration by the F22 Raptor and let me tell you this plane is amazing.
This plane can do things that all other planes only dream about and it was really cool to see it in action.
The C17 Globemaster was pretty impressive too.
Aside from the fact that this plane is HUGE it has the ability to land on a very small runway. The Globemaster landed in front of us and the amount of runway needed is about what you'd need to stop a fast car. Absolutely mind blowing.
We saw Kent Pietsch land his plane on top of a moving motorhome - which is pretty incredible.
He's an amazing pilot but seriously this guy must be nuts. How did he even come up with the idea to try that?
And I wonder how long it took him to find someone willing to drive the motorhome while he practised.
Afternoon came and it was time for the Thunderbirds to do their thing.
I never cease to be amazed at how close these guys fly to each other. They give precision a whole new meaning.
After the show was over we got to take a close up look at the Osprey.
It was interesting to see the inside, especially after being treated to a fly-by in December.
It was also sad, thinking of the crash last week.
As we made our way to the gate it didn't occur to us that since everyone had been bused in they would all need to be bused out again.
The lines for the buses were longer than the eye could see.
We didn't have anywhere we needed to be so we opted out of the line and chose an alternative place to wait.
We'd been walking all day and the sun was still pretty hot so sitting in the shade seemed like a much better idea than waiting in line.
That line goes all the way back to the flight line and then curves around behind a hangar and kept going farther than I could see.
I will say that those buses were coming in and out at a surprisingly fast rate and the MPs kept everyone moving. It was interesting to see them move that many people out so smoothly.
It was a little over an hour before we got to the car but it beat standing in the sun - and the people watching was great.
We really had fun and hope the Thunderbirds come back soon.