September 25, 2007
September 25, 2007
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Mike: Watching a small airplane pirouette through the air, a trail of smoke making known its line of flight, I enjoy the thrill of an air show. I've been to more than just a couple; from air races where old WW II war birds round the pylons at breakneck speeds to a sailplane flittering and floating its routing gently as a leaf to a pin-point spot landing in front of the crowd.
Then there are static displays of every imaginable type of aircraft. You've got the war birds of course, bombers and fighters, military jets old and new, top-secret spy planes, and the remotely piloted UAV's. Homebuilders come to display projects they've worked on meticulously for years. Wing-walkers thrill the crowd with their aerial trapeze, stunt pilots and military demonstration teams show what airplanes can do. Air shows have been around since the dawn of aviation. At times it was just to demonstrate a particular machine, other times it’s a competition.
People wander the display area or sit in the stands. There are young kids who'll go home with a toy airplane making swooshes and roaring sounds, youths who find inspiration for a career, and those who just enjoy the show. Each has a reason for spending time on a weekend afternoon wandering the tarmac filling their senses with the sights and sounds.
I love the old WW II airplanes, the P-51 and Bearcat fighters, the B-25 and B-17 bombers. New technologies are fascinating too, like the new Light Sport Aircraft, comparatively inexpensive to learn to fly. Mostly I like to see people enjoying the objects of my own passions since childhood.
Linda: The 23rd Annual Wings Over Houston air show (WOH) is just around the corner–Saturday and Sunday, October 6 & 7 at Houston's Ellington Field. It was at this performance three years ago that I was inspired to fly. With each act, culminating in the Thunderbirds’ flight demonstration, I wondered what it would be like to do "that!"
Mike and I met with WOH executive director, Bill Roach, and discussed this year's event. Starting over a year in advance, each show takes tremendous coordination. Thousands of volunteer hours are put into each show.
WOH also hosts a Special Show for physically challenged people and offers academic scholarships. For more info, check out www.wingsoverhouston.com and click on “Community Involvement”.
The Canadian Snow Birds demonstration team headlines this year’s show. WWII P-38 fighter Glacier Girl, recovered from under 265 feet of ice in Greenland will be on hand to show her stuff along with the Commemorative Air Force‘s B-24, Ol 927 and many others. Gates open Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for static displays. Aerial performances begin 10:00 a.m. Ticket prices vary–check online–and under 5 is free. If you go, drop us a line and let us know how you liked it.
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.