Inside Airshows – Part 3: Tuskegee 3 – 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!

If you want to understand a subculture or an experience, a great way to do that is to take an outsider and plunge him into the place you want to know about, wait awhile, then drag him back to the surface and wring him out to see how it changed him.  It’s even better if you can get the guy to wring himself out.  You begin to realize that not everybody who writes about the majesty of flight does it because he’s a fighter pilot.  Some of us write because we’re not fighter pilots.

You also need to talk about the world in its own terms, using the lexicon of the world, sometimes without explaining the vocabulary to the uninitiated, except maybe through context.  If you’re a pilot, you’ll understand most of this.  If you’re not a pilot, that’s okay, because you’ll feel a little of the strangeness of this world and you’ll put it together in context and in realtime.  Just like I did.  In some ways, you’re in for a better ride than the pilots.

There are three things you need to know about me.

First, I’m a pretty average Joe.  I’m 46.  By any reasonable estimation, my life is more than half over.  I live in the suburbs.  I have a wife and two kids.  I run the rat race every day about as well as the next guy.  You wouldn’t recognize me if you ran into me in the grocery store.

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Second, I always wanted to be an astronaut.

Third, I realized a few years ago that it was entirely up to me where between that baseline and that dream I would live each day of the rest of my life.


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Listen to this.

[ICAS hall noise.]

This is the sound of a magical zone in spacetime.  It’s a room with about 60,000 square feet of floor space.  It’s at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I don’t know what happens in that room for the other 361 days each year.  I’m not even sure that this room  exists for the other 361 days of the year.  But, for four days each December, it’s filled wall to wall with just about every airshow performer who’s active anywhere in the us and Canada.  This is the exhibit hall at the International Council of Air Shows annual convention.

Standing at the back of the hall facing the doors way across the room, the Thunderbirds and the other Air Force TAC DEMO and static display pilots and leadership are off to the left against the far wall.  The Blue Angels and the rest of the Navy and Marine Corps contingent are on the opposite wall.  The Snowbirds are in the middle on this side.  Sean Tucker, Mike Goulian, Skip Stewart, Patty Wagstaff, Bill Stein, Rob Holland, Billy Werth, Greg Koontz, Kent Pietsch, Andy Anderson, Bob Carlton, Gene Soucy, Scooter Yoak, Team Aerodynamix, John Klatt . . . every one of them is in this room right now.  Hanging out.  Booking next year’s appearances. Swapping stories.  Doing whatever superheroes do when they get together each year between seasons. [Read more...]

Second Day at Sun ‘N Fun

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio, please check out the other posts.

Day two here at Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland, Florida. We got up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday to make the flight to Orlando and didn’t get to the hotel until around 10:00, so no blog post yesterday.

But we’re back at a reasonable time tonight, so here are a few views of the day.

Rod Rakic, the mastermind behind, got to hold Sean Tucker’s pole (at least one of them) for one of the ribbon cuts at the show today. Ella and I talked our way up onto the announcer’s stand and shot this picture of the moment. That’s Rod in the orange shirt holding the near pole.

Yesterday, we hit the Splash-In at the Fantasy of Flight museum on the way to Lakepand. We hooked up with Will Hawkins and Rico Sharqawi of Wilco Films and got to help set up for Kermit Weeks’ interview for A Pilot’s Story. Ella was the stand-in for Kermit during the setup phase.

The Viper East Demo Team was there with a single-ship F-16 demonstration. I shot what I could of the demo, but this was the first time I could get really close to the announcer end of the presentation. Here, the major is handling the communications with the aircraft during the demo while the chief did the announcing.

Be sure to join me on the Sun ‘N Fun Radio porch tomorrow right after the airshow (approx. 5:30) for the very first live rendition of Airspeed! I’ll tweet as we get close to airtime. See you there!