Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Sad Weekend

A clear, blue sky, white smoke trails, and the roar of engines - air shows are fun and exciting, watching skilled aviators demonstrate the capabilities of their aircraft as well as their own abilities. Unfortunately, behind those thrilling maneuvers, danger can be lurking. That simple fact was driven home this past weekend, when three separate accidents each claimed the life of an airshow performer.

At the Kansas City Air Show, pilot Bryan Jensen was lost in the crash of his biplane while performing before a large crowd of visitors during Saturday's performance. On Sunday, wingwalker Todd Green was performing his signature stunt - climbing from the wing of a Stearman biplane to the skid of a helicopter - when he fell about 200 feet to his death at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan.

On Saturday, after completing a demonstration at the Bournemouth Air Festival, Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, of the Royal Air Force Demonstration Team Red Arrows, died in the crash of his BAE Systems Hawk T1 jet. Egging, an 11 year veteran of the RAF, saw combat in Afghanistan flying the Harrier jump jet before joining the Red Arrows for the 2011 season.

Condolences to the families and friends of these three fine aviators.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Slipping the Surly Bonds with Dazzlin' Deb

I was at the American Airpower Museum on Sunday, when Paul Farber says "I'm going flying, want to come along?" Well, you don't have to ask me twice. Paul owns a beautiful T-6 Texan, which he keeps at the museum.

We departed Republic Airport and headed down to the south shore of the Island.

A trip east along Great South Bay, and we were soon arriving at Bayport Aerodrome, a small grass field, and home to a number of historic aircraft.

After a short visit at Bayport, we were back in the air, heading home.

What a fun way to spend an afternoon! Paul let me do much of the flying - while I was busy looking for traffic, watching for landmarks so I could figure out where we were, and trying to keep an eye on the instruments, I made sure to take a few moments and soak in the experience - the sound of the radial engine, the feel of the controls, and the amazing sight of looking out the canopy, seeing blue sky, puffy clouds, and a brilliant sun overhead.

It's a beautiful airplane, flies well, and sounds spectacular! Thanks Paul!