The Only Jets I Love

JetsIt may be football season, but you won’t hear me professing my love for the Jets. Sorry, Jets fans! No, you’ll find the jets I love at air shows. In fact, if there is an air show within 100 miles of my house, you can bet I’m going!

I grew up going to local air shows in Wilmington, NC where pilots from all over – hobbyist and military both – brought their coolest tech, showing off everything from jets to privately owned planes to other cool military equipment. Kids and the young-at-heart could sit in the pilot’s seat of various safely grounded aircraft and see what it would be like to be behind the wheel.

But, for me, the best part of any air show was always the performances by the military demonstration teams.

The two most famous are the US Air Force team, the Thunderbirds, and the US Navy team, the Blue Angels. Formed in the early part of the twentieth century, these teams perform for over eleven million fans each year.

For those of you that have never seen a military demonstration flight team, they’re incredible. Loop-de-loops and corkscrew turns are just the beginning of what these Navy and Air Force pilots can do. They’re such a tightly run team, they can fly their jets as close as eighteen inches to one another while in flight. And lest you think they slow down for their tricks, these jets fly by at nearly the speed of sound – over 700 miles per hour! Watch this 39-second video (wait for it…) and you’ll see what I mean:

JetsSome more fun facts about the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels:

–  As of July 2014, both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds have had female pilots on the team.
–  In 2011, the Blue Angels went green for a day when they flew for the first time with a 50-50 blend of conventional JP-5 jet fuel and a camelina-based biofuel. After flying, the pilot stated there were “no noticeable differences in performance from inside the cockpit.”
–  The Thunderbirds’ paint job is specially formulated with paints that help them resist wear at repeated Mach 2 speeds.

I still scream like a little girl when the jets buzz overhead, and people still send me their favorite videos of these super cool jets. One of my all-time favorite videos is a clip from comedian Bill Engvall – about flying with the Thunderbirds. (It’s a long one – about 17 minutes –  but worth watching on your lunch break today!)

As for me, I still have hope that I’ll get to fly up there with those pilots one day…because unlike Bill, I drive a Mustang, not a scooter!

Happy Monday,