Ok, I’m going to tackle a “macho” post because Hector is busy working on a ton of photos. Here goes:
Our campground’s setting in Geiger Key (10 miles north of Key West) was beautiful, on the water, facing various mangrove islands with visiting and resident birds, fish and manatees. And we met some interesting and inspiring people while there.
But we were also aware that one of the perceived downsides to this campground was that it’s across from Naval Air Station – Key West.
This is a training base for air combat maneuvers and translates to loud craft doing combat maneuvers sometimes frequently during the day. For some, this could be a nuisance. Hector saw it as “a daily air show”. And I found myself enjoying the “shows” as well. So for us, these became the “other birds of Geiger Key”.
While we were there, Hector found out that the Blue Angels would be in town a few days after we were scheduled to leave. Their show was to be the last Blue Angels show for an unknown amount of time due to the sequester. Immediately Hector proposed that we extend our stay for the air show.
This island girl would take any excuse to stay in Key West, I was feeling the gravitational pull of the island.
We “splurged” and purchased $12 seats (vs. bring your own chair for free, or stands for $5). An incredible deal, as the sitting area included a bar and port a potties so we could avoid having to walk the entire tarmac to use facilities. This is a plus when one of us has an injured foot in a boot.
What can I say about the air show? These are a bunch of crazy guys tempting fate. Hector’s observation: these are some studly men. It’s hard to believe what they are able to do, and even Hector’s great photos don’t capture many of the truly scary moments.
There were skydivers jumping out of planes from 10,000 feet (some holding hands), small planes doing all manner of aerobatics, a soaring sailplane, a wing walker and, amazingly an aerobatic helicopter (the only one of its kind).
My favorite # 1. The wing walker, yes, a crazy woman hangs on to the struts between the wings of a bi-plane and then walks to the top of the wings and poses while said plane is doing aerobatics. She’s also an airline pilot, and has a massive amount of professional leadership credentials. Wonder woman indeed (check out what she’s wearing).
Of course, those beautiful creatures, the Clydesdales were also there. Two American icons side by side, striking!
I have to say that the entire Blue Angels part of the show is really inspiring These young “studly” men have worked hard to get here and are incredibly skilled. You can’t help but be swept up by the excitement and patriotism of the moment (and the crowd goes wild!). Just take a look at Hector’s smile on the photo above. I’ll let him tell you more. (and you can view all these pictures in a slide show … click any one to enlarge, then use the previous / next buttons).
OK, my turn. The Blue Angels are officially known as the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Intended as a recruitment tool for the Navy, it includes not only the pilots and the 6 aircraft used in the aerial performance, but also elite examples of other roles.
The Blue Angels use a United States Marine Corps C-130T Hercules, nicknamed “Fat Albert”, for their logistics, carrying spare parts, equipment, and to transport support personnel between shows. The show actually starts with “Bert” demonstrating some of the aerial maneuvers and short runway capabilities of the C130.
The Blue Angels show begins with a precision drill on the tarmac where these ground personnel get the jets ready to go, the pilots on board, and the jets head off to the taxiway for takeoff. It is all extremely impressive … and a fitting start to the amazing show about to ensue.
And the show begins … a perfect day for aviation. Visibility unlimited, slight breeze, the smell of jet fuel, thumping patriotic music, what a total rush. A dizzying neck ache inducing aerial display. Followed by another precision show on the ground as the fly boys deplane. Very manly stuff indeed!