Sometime early this year of lat last year, I began seeing items touting an airshow involving the U. S. Air Force Thunderbird aerobatic team on the beach. Yeah, right. Well, last February (I think) an F-16 did a preliminary recon of HB — hmmm . . . maybe, maybe.
Well, this last weekend it became a reality.
Late Thursday morning I took Charlie (my wife) to an appointment at her hairdresser’s in Newport Beach. I returned home to read and wait for her call. About 1 pm I heard a tremendous roar and looked out to see a flight of jets (the Thunderbirds) flying over our house heading southwest to the coast. It was their first practice flight over the beach for the Saturday/Sunday show.
Charlie called a few minutes later and I climbed into the car to pick her up. I saw a good deal of the jets practicing their maneuvers on the fifteen minute drive to the hairdresser and on the return pointed them out to Charlie. It was the first she had heard of their being a show and was thrilled to see the planes — and wanted to go.
I thought Friday, the practice day, would be best because the crowds would be smaller than those on Saturday and Sunday but as luck would have it Charlie wasn’t feeling up to it. Sunday was supposed to be cool so we decided to make the visit to the beach and show then.
Sunday dawned cool and moist. I had charged up her scooter (the same one we took to Europe) and loaded it onto the Buick’s carrier. About noon we headed over to Mike and Sandy’s where we were going to park the car for a short, block and a half, “stroll” down Beach Blvd to the show.
After speaking with our friends for a few minutes, they were going to Long Beach to see a live theater show that afternoon and had already seen the airshow, we set out for the beach. Di had her British jacket and I had a USC hoodie and an umbrella in case it decided to rain — it decided to begin sprinkling just about the time we crossed PCH and got to the beach.
We missed the opening parachuting but saw several solo aerobatic acts and both of the jet aerobatic demonstration teams. In addition to the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds the Breitling Jet Team also gave an impressive demonstration.
The Breitling Jet Team flies the Czech built L-39C Albatros. The Albatros is a sub-sonic twin-seat military jet trainer.
The Thunderbirds fly the Lockheed Martin Fighting Falcon F-16 supersonic single-seat air superiority/ground attack fighter.
There was also a demonstration flight conducted by a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
At the airshow
We spent most of the afternoon around the Beach/PCH area and tried to stay away from tall people who could block Charlie’s view of things. She (I) bought a Thunderbird t-shirt and was most disappointed that she couldn’t get closer to the HB Police horses.
We were there for a bit over three hours and thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was the second time I’d seen the Thunderbirds. Dad had taken my brother and I to see the air races at Fox Field where the Thunderbirds were also performing. this was some fifty plus years ago when they flew the F-100 Super Sabre. The thing I remember most about that show was being able to walk up and “touch” some of the racing aircraft: P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, F8F Bearcat, etc. I’ve also seen the Blue Angels perform.
When the Thunderbirds finished their show, we (and most everyone else) headed home. Many of those walking and riding their bikes were thoroughly soaked. Charlie got wetter on her scooter than I did walking. It took a few minutes to get the scooter secured to the carrier while Charlie waited in the car, but we still made it home by 4:30 pm. She changed into dry clothes while I made her a hot cup of tea.
And I, I poured myself a nice whisky . . . all in all, it was a very pleasant day.