per·i·pa·tet·ic
ˌperēpəˈtedik/
adjective
  1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
    Aristotelian.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blue Angels Among Us--Amen! We Agree!

"The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind--"

--from The Message, John 17:21--


A certain kind of miracle occurs quite frequently at this time of year in Northwest Florida. It involves an exchange between a group of disciplined, highly trained pilots and their audiences at air show practices which take place behind the National Naval Aviation Museum. The toughest cookie in the jar might very well crumble after witnessing one of these practice sessions. It's not enough to just see the death-defying midair stunts the pilots perform. You have to hear the roar of the engines and the simultaneous gasps of wonder coming from hundreds of people sitting around you on the bleachers. And then there are the running commentaries from the volunteers on site. They keep you informed as to how many "G's" the pilots must overcome as they perform some of their maneuvers. Seven or eight, I heard someone say. And all of that overcoming doesn't come easy. Their workout schedule would put any professional sports player to shame. One of the volunteers said that in order to maintain control over the joystick (throttle?) of the jet, a pilot must be able to curl a 35-pound free weight and hold it in that curled position for five minutes. Or did she say 45 minutes? The more I watched and heard about these disciples of the air on this Maundy Thursday morning, the more I wanted to believe that it was the latter.


video

22 comments:

  1. Oh, I love watching those midair stunts and always am impressed by their gall! It's a stunt that might demand their life! Awesome shots!

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  2. I saw the Air Force version of this many years ago in Rochester, Minn. Not to be a domplete cynic but I wonder why they still do this? That is place these pilots at risk for publicity reasons.... i.e. gain public supoort for future funding increases. More than once there have been accidents.

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  3. Awesome! When I lived in Maine they would come to Brunswick each year and I always enjoyed them. I saw them when I was young, but ever since 1988 and the horrific crash between two Italian jet fighters at an air show in Ramstein I refuse to be even within hearing distance of the planes. It was so awful. I was in Germany at the time, with only one American TV station and many Americans, French and Germans injured the graphic images and calls for blood on TV still haunt me to this day so I think I'll watch them on your video or TV now only.

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  4. Great photo. You should put it on skywatch.

    After the horrific crashes I don't watch them live either. What they do is beautiful but so dangerous.
    Marnie

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  5. Chandramouli, thanks. You know, the shows might just seem like fun and games to us, but those maneuvers actually come into play during real death-defying battle situations. The pilots are keenly aware that they may be called upon at any time to leave the show circuit and use their amazing skills and stamina to defend their comrades and country.

    Troutbirder, the shows are indeed for publicity purposes, but they are also vital for recruitment and public education. As I said, the practices help you understand those factors much better than the shows. You begin to comprehend how important a well-equipped, well-trained military force is to the safety and security of this entire country and the rest of the world. Many of the elderly observers and volunteers were a bit moist-eyed when the practice ended, and this observer isn't ashamed to admit she was among them. It was a humbling experience.

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  6. Tina, I know the practices and shows aren't completely without some risk, but the odds are more in favor of someone getting hurt or killed driving to work or the store than ending up a casualty of an airfield mishap. You know, one of the pilots had to drop out of the formation for a while and disappeared from view because (it was reported by one of the volunteers in radio contact with the control tower) a warning light had come on in the plane. I'm fairly sure the pilot took the jet far out to sea just in case he had to eject. You could feel the tension in the crowd suddenly relax when he rejoined the practice. We were all pulling for him to be okay.

    Thanks, Marnie. I'm used to taking pics of things that don't move very fast. This photo op was an exciting new experience for me. I discovered, though, that I need to remember to breathe when the action is so intense.

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  7. W2W,

    There's something for you in my latest blog post about Ethel Gloves http://tinyurl.com/EthelGloves stop by for a read.

    :0)

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  8. I will, MBT. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. I too enjoy Peterson's Message.

    Have a glorious Easter.

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  10. I don't doubt it, that takes strength, endurance, concentration, and most of all ... mental discipline. I have 3 of the 4, ... or maybe just 2.

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  11. Thanks, Mr. Stratz. A lot of purists would disagree with us about The Message. Which makes me ponder even more on the implication of the words in the quote.

    Mr. S, I think the only one of those qualities I've ever been able to achieve is concentration...until something distracts me.

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  12. I came back to read the quote again. I know some of those purists and can understand their angst.

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  13. We have a similar air show in nearby Ypsilanti in the summer. It's amazing! Happy Easter.

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  14. I can understand the angst too, I guess, Mr. S. But doesn't the significance of the message itself get lost in all of the fuss?

    I've actually never seen the official air show, Monica, just the practice. Though the Blue Angels are the main attraction at the official show, there are too many other things going on at the same time. A bit like a three-ring circus, I imagine. I hope you have a wonderful Easter too!

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  15. The blue angels come to our navel air station in Maine too. Amazing flying but lots of noise. Nice photo!

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  16. I've seen the Blue Angels perform a couple of times; their manuevers are just amazing. But I'd certainly rather be on the ground watching them than flying in the plane with them:)

    Hope you had a good Easter!

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  17. I saw one time some flights and I remember well that there were also Air Force pilots. It 's great how you shot this pictures.

    I hope that you had a wonderful Easter. Didn 't you painted eggs?

    Wurzerl

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  18. Thanks, Sarah. The pic that made it into the blog was almost nixed because of that conspicuous head. The more I thought about it, though, the more it made sense and seemed to belong.

    Rose, thanks. We had a wonderful family day at home. I'm with you on the flying antics. Just watching the planes turn upside down made my stomach do a flip.

    Wurzerl, thank you. We did have fun with our grandson, hiding eggs outside for him to find. Next year we will do some egg coloring with him. He is still at that stage (2 years old) where most things either end up in his mouth or thrown on the floor.

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  19. When we lived in East Milton they practiced overhead every Wednesday during the practice season. They're a very familiar sight to me. Quite thrilling for those seeing them for the first time.

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  20. PJ, it wasn't so much the flying that made the experience so thrilling, although it was quite spectacular. It was the interaction with the spectators, young and old, and hearing about all the work that goes into preparing for the flights. The volunteers who staff the museum and the practice sessions are mostly retired military personnel (some of them former pilots) who strive to make the experience enjoyable and memorable.

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