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Friday, September 8, 2017

I WANT TO FLY WITH THE (THUNDER)BIRDS OR THE BLUE ANGELS



Blue Angels

I believe the Thunderbirds (US Air Force) & the Blue Angels (US Navy) still perform at air shows. If you haven't yet seen them, you've missed a lot of excitement & some beautiful flying.  They perform intricate maneuvers in F/A-18 Hornets at high speeds with their wing tips only a few inches apart.  The Blue Angels would occasionally appear at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, which is just a couple of miles from the beach house we used to own at Port Hueneme. You could see & hear them from our lanai when they flew out over the ocean & back as they were practicing.  One year Theo & Lynn (read about them here.) were visiting us from Texas & the four of us decided to go.  It was too late to get tickets, but we didn't miss anything.  We parked right outside the base with the front bumper almost touching the chain link fence.  We could see the whole show & even more exciting was when they flew right over our car, about 25 feet from the ground!! 

It felt sort of like this:

They had such a good time they sent me this as a thank you gift:




Some more information from Wikipedia;

During their aerobatic demonstration, the Blues fly six F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, split into the Diamond Formation (Blue Angels 1 through 4) and the Lead and Opposing Solos (Blue Angels 5 and 6). Most of the show alternates between maneuvers performed by the Diamond Formation and those performed by the Solos. The Diamond, in tight formation and usually at lower speeds (400 mph), performs maneuvers such as formation loops, rolls, and transitions from one formation to another. The Solos showcase the high performance capabilities of their individual aircraft through the execution of high-speed passes, slow passes, fast rolls, slow rolls, and very tight turns. Although the fighter jet is capable of reaching a speed of 1,400 mph, the highest speed flown during an air show is 700 mph (just under Mach 1) and the lowest speed is 120 mph. Some of the maneuvers include both solo aircraft performing at once, such as opposing passes (toward each other in what appears to be a collision course) and mirror formations (back-to-back. belly-to-belly, or wingtip-to-wingtip, with one jet flying inverted). The Solos join the Diamond Formation near the end of the show for a number of maneuvers in the Delta Formation.
   

Enjoy this view from the cockpit:
   

This is the only type of Thunderbird I ever got to see:

(Editor's note: When Bud was discharged from the Army we came back to L.A. so he could go to law school at UCLA.  I got a job as assistant to Ernie Taub, a children's dentist.  In addition to my regular duties, Dr. Taub liked me to do his banking.  I didn't mind at all because he let me drive his T-bird on those errands.)

(Editor's note #2: Because a lot of Dr. Taub's patients were afraid of doctor's uniforms he worked in street clothes.  I worked in shorts.  This was before the days of suing for sexual harassment. One day another children's dentist came by to pick him up for lunch.  He asked why his staff dressed in shorts.  His answer: "Other dentists ask where their assistants received their training. I say, 'Let me see your legs, baby!!'")



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