Inside Airshows – Part 2: With a Mic in My Hand – Audio Episode Show Notes

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

A narrator can make or break an airshow act.  Especially for an audience that doesn’t understand what it’s seeing.

You’ve heard me say it before.  John Mohr, Greg Koontz, Kent Pietsch, and others cast pearls before swine.  I don’t mean to sound rude or elitist.  It’s just true.  Most of the audience has no idea how difficult some of those maneuvers are.  You and I know that it’s very often not how fast but how slow, and not how high but how low, that is the really amazing thing about an airshow performance.

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If the announcer isn’t there telling the crowd  what to look for, there’s no way they’ll get it.  Take John Mohr.  He rolls a stock Stearman inverted low to the ground.  He holds it there until the engine sputters and eventually quits from fuel exhaustion.  The Stearman has a very slow roll rate.  If John doesn’t do a lot of things right – and immediately – he’ll make contact with the ground inverted in an open-cockpit aircraft.  He has to know without a doubt that he can get the aircraft rolled upright in time to either get the engine restarted or land on the wheels. [Read more...]

Blue Angels Opposing Solo LCDR Craig Olson

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Lieutenant Commander Craig Olson comes from Kirkland, Washington. He attended Central Washington University and earned B.S. in Aeronautical Science. In March of 1994, he reported to Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, and was commissioned as an ensign in August 1994.

Olson completed primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and transferred to NAS Kingsville, Texas, for intermediated and advanced jet training, flying the new T-45 Goshawk at Training Squadron 22 (VT-22). He received his wings of gold in April 1996.

Olson remained with VT-22 as an instructor pilot in the T045 as a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD). In April 1997 he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125), at NAS Lemoore, California, for replacement pilot training in the F/A-18 Hornet.

In January 1998, Olson reported to the VFA-22 “Fighting Redcocks.” White there he completed to sets of work-ups and a six-month Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flying combat missions in support of Operation Southern Watch. During his tour with VFA-22, Olson served as the Schedules Officer, Aircraft Division Officer, Air-to-Air Weapons training Officer, and Landing Signals Officer (LSO).

In January 2001, Olson reported to the VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” also based at NAS Lemoore, as an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet instructor pilot. While at VFA-122, Olson served as an OSO, T-34C program phase head and Ground Safety Officer.

He transferred to the VFA-106 “Gladiators” at NAS Oceana in December 2005, where he requalified in the Super Hornet and served as an Instructor Pilot. He reported to the “Fighting Swordsmen” of VFA-32 also at NAS Oceana in April 2006, where he served as the Operations Officer and Safety Officer.

He joined the Blue Angels in November 2002 and returned in April 2007. He has accumulated more than 3,500 flight hours and 345 carrier arrested landings.

As many of you know, Olson did not start the 2007 season with the Blue Angels. He replaces LCDR Kevin Davis, who was killed on April 21 toward the end of a demonstration flight at Naval Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. LCDR Olson rejoined the Blue Angels as the opposing solo pilot in the No. 6 jet. The team resumed practices soon after the accident and LCDR Olson resumed his duties as a solo, reintegrating into the team after having returned to the fleet a year and a half ago.

Dan McNew and I were treated to a Blue angels demonstration flight from the ramp of the Western Michigan University School of Aviation on the northeast corner of the field at Battle Creek International Airport (KBTL) in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Blue Angels arrived at about 10:30 local and the diamond and the solos, respectively, flew familiarization maneuvers between then and 2:30. The team then flew a full demo before meeting us out by the aircraft for interviews.

Thanks again to LCDR Craig Olson for joining us on Airspeed. You can find out more about the Blue Angels at The US Navy is running open houses and recruitment efforts in connection with several of the Blue Angels’ appearances. It’s Detroit Navy week here in southeast Michigan. If you’re age 18 to 24 and want to obtain free tickets to the show and an opportunity to meet the Blue Angels, check with your local Navy recruiting office.

The Blue Angels will be appearing around the country all summer and into the fall.

7-8 Ypsilanti, Michigan (Willow Run Airport)
14-15 McConnell AFB, Kansas
21 Pensacola Beach – Florida
28-29 Bozeman, Montana

04-05 Seattle, Washington
11-12 Hillsboro, Oregon
25 – 26 Indianapolis, Indiana

Demos continue through August, September, and October until the final show of the year scheduled for November 9-10 at NAS Pensacola, Florida.


Blue Angels:

US Navy Recruiting:

US Marine Corps Recruiting: