The Other Birds of Geiger Key

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White Ibis

White Ibis

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.

Fighter Squadron VFC 11 - "The Sundowners".

Fighter Squadron VFC 11 – “The Sundowners” fly the Northrop F5N/F Tiger

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The Sundowners play the bad guys …

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”.

Caught ya!

Caught ya!

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Marines CH53E Super Stallion heacy lift chopper

Naval Air Station Key West Air Show - air showWhile 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.

Southernmost Air show  046Southernmost Air show  029Southernmost Air show  030What 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. Southernmost Air show  004Southernmost Air show  042

Outside loop

Outside loop

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H 101 Salto Aerobatic Sailplane

H 101 Salto Aerobatic Sailplane

Southernmost Air show  002Southernmost Air show  023There 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).   Southernmost Air show  024Southernmost Air show  025

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The NAS Key West “home team”, the Sundowners fighter squadron, make an appearance

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The Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk

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The Vought Corsair F4U, WWII workhorse of carrier aviation

The Vought Corsair F4U, WWII workhorse of carrier aviation

Southernmost Air show  032And lots of military planes with numbers for names.  And Hector knows most of those names by heart.  Very manly.  And this one is an F49B37…

Southernmost Air show  034Southernmost Air show  035My 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).Southernmost Air show  036Southernmost Air show  037Southernmost Air show  038Southernmost Air show  039Southernmost Air show  040

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A one of a kind modified Messerschmitt-Bölkow Blohm BO-105

Southernmost Air show  014My favorite # 2.  The helicopter – this dude was actually calmly talking to the announcer and answering questions, all broadcast over the speakers while he was doing aerobatics in a helicopter, nuts!Southernmost Air show  015Southernmost Air show  073

The Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A 18 Super Hornet

The Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A 18 Super Hornet

Southernmost Air show  001 (1)And, the piece de resistance, the Blue Angels.  Beautiful planes, adorable pilots in crisp bright uniforms (where did those hats come from, anyway?), pomp and circumstance and exciting musicflyboys  002

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The famous Budweiser pooper scooper ...

The famous Budweiser pooper scooper …

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).

~ Brenda

C 130 Hercules

C 130 Hercules

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.

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Fat Albert

Fat Albert

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.

Southernmost Air show  056Southernmost Air show  048Southernmost Air show  059The 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.Southernmost Air show  058Southernmost Air show  062Southernmost Air show  060Southernmost Air show  061Southernmost Air show  013Southernmost Air show  064Southernmost Air show  063Southernmost Air show  065

The diamond pattern jets 1 thru 4 take off in unison

The diamond pattern jets 1 thru 4 take off in unison

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.  Southernmost Air show  068Southernmost Air show  071Southernmost Air show  069Southernmost Air show  084Southernmost Air show  092Southernmost Air show  087Southernmost Air show  088Southernmost Air show  081Southernmost Air show  072Southernmost Air show  070Southernmost Air show  074Southernmost Air show  079Southernmost Air show  082Southernmost Air show  083Southernmost Air show  075Southernmost Air show  078Southernmost Air show  080Southernmost Air show  095Southernmost Air show  096Southernmost Air show  076Southernmost Air show  093Southernmost Air show  085Southernmost Air show  090Southernmost Air show  091Southernmost Air show  089Southernmost Air show  097Southernmost Air show  098A dizzying neck ache inducing aerial display.  Followed by another precision show on the ground as the fly boys deplane.  Very manly stuff indeed!

~ Hector

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3 thoughts on “The Other Birds of Geiger Key

  1. I feel as if I’m with you … warm breeze, jet fuel odor, the Stars and Stripes, thunderously roaring engines and applause… Thanks for the “trip.”

  2. Yeowzer! What a fantastic recount! I was almost there! Patriotic indeed! And the photos, wowee!!! Talk about impressive, that describes you two!!!

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