While in Alabama, we decided to make our way down the state to visit Jim's cousin near Mobile....and since we'd already driven that far, we figured we might as well take a short trip over to Pensacola.
Why Pensacola you might ask? Well....we have 3 boys who love the Navy...1 is borderline obsessive ;) There just so happens to be an NAS (Naval Air Station) located in this wonderful beach town...and the cherry on top is that the Blue Angels are stationed there and hold public practices on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings! There is also a fantastic Naval Aviation Museum...and everything is Free (well, except for IMAX and crazy simulator games..but there is more than enough to keep you occupied for free).
The kids knew that we were going to the coast, but they were totally clueless up until we stopped at the security check point to get on the base.
By this point, son #1 is about 1 second from going into full blown geek out mode...it's juuuuuuust under the surface ;) He did good, didn't jump up and down like a 12 yr old girl at a Beiber concert..just kept it cool as a cucumber!
The practice starts at 8:30 am and there are bleachers right on the runway. Each section gets their own guide who gives you inside info on the planes and the stunts. As they drove down the tarmac, we were told to wave and they'd wave back...but I guess I missed his wave, lol.
Honestly, I was not overly excited about this leg of our trip (I was very thankful for my lovely friend Kathy who stocked us up with their favorite brews on our way through St. Louis). This stuff really isn't my thing...but...WOW! These planes fly over 600 mph and 18 inches apart! 18 Inches!!!
These guys came flying in on their side facing each other and then broke off to do something else crazy. It was a cloudy day so there weren't any big loops and such, but it was still Very impressive!
Can I say it again...18 Inches!!!!!
#3 for the day was a 2nd #2...but really they were flying by so fast that who knew!
At one point, one of the solo planes flew up over a hill behind the bleachers at like 500 ft..the guide called it a sneaky pass (but I thought he called it the Stinky pass...because it scared the poo out of me when it came roaring by!)
There were so many more shots...basically I just had the camera on rapid shot and kept clicking pictures.
Our guide told us that the planes line up with the Boss (the lead pilot) by aligning their wings with the hornet painted above the wing. It's maybe the size of a hot dog bun..maybe.... I get nervous when Jim drives too close to the car in front of us on the highway doing 70 mph.....I couldn't imagine flying 600 mph, 18 inches apart and then lining up with something that's around 6 inches!!!! The precision and skill that these pilots show is amazing!
So, if you're ever in the area...this was a must...but the show was only the beginning! There was still the entire aviation museum!!!