The Blue Angels were in town Labor Day weekend. We rushed up to our rooftop deck to watch them do their stuff. I tried taking pictures of them with my little Canon S400. There was more fun to be had trying to take the pictures than seeing the results. I’m posting this one because it shows the pilots flying in tight formation in a difficult manoeuvre.
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My wife’s uncle is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. He signed up during WW2 but didn’t see service. He fought in Korea, flew transport planes into Berlin during the blockade (they were short of pilots), and fought in Vietnam. He said that flying in the Blue Angels is the toughest job in flying. He told us that flying in tight formation was extremely stressful and difficult, but military pilots are trained to do it. It served him well. He was flying in Panama on a mission and a bird hit his windshield. It didn’t break but the glass crazed and he couldn’t see out of it. No problem. He had a wingman and he could see him out of the side window. So, they flew in formation back to base and landed in unison. That formation training saved his life.

Back in his early days he was training in prop planes. They were flying in formation and coming into a rural airport to land. He’d gotten a little ahead and his flight leader told him to pull up his nose a bit to wash off some speed and bring him back in line. Unfortunately, this restricted his view of the landing strip. As he touched down a cow walked into the way. The prop converted the unfortunate cow into instant hamburger and covered the plane in blood and guts. He taxied it to maintenance and received the requisite amount of abuse for bending the prop and bloodying up their aircraft. Next morning he heads out to his plane for the next training flight. The plane had been restored to perfect flying condition and the aircrew had painted a little cow on the cockpit canopy.

The spirit of American military pilots lives on. They serve and dare so that we may be secure.

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