Airplanes!

As I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, I went to the Wings Over Houston air show with my father last Saturday. I’d never been before, but my Dad is crazy about airplanes – particularly the B29 bombers his father worked on during WWII. The last B29 still flying, Fifi, was there, along with many other antique planes, but due to the sequester there were no military aircraft this year. This meant attendance was low, but that was fine by me as crowds aren’t my favorite thing in the world. I’m more a fan of the modern, high-speed, showy planes, though, so not getting to see any of that stuff was a bit of a bummer. Still, we had a good time, and of course I took photos. Once again I decided to just take my iPhone and make do, although there were loads of nice cameras around. This was just two days after Ramone disappeared, though, and I was still feeling very sad about that, and I just wasn’t in the mood to lug my big camera around to take pics.

I actually drove out to my parents’ house Friday night and spent the night with them, since my father likes to get to the airshow right when the gates open. He also likes to park his car at a shuttle pick-up and ride the bus over, which means getting to the shuttle station at 7:30 AM (my father is perpetually early; it is not a habit I picked up from him). I figured his idea was better than driving through all the traffic, and since the air show is nowhere near my house but is fairly close to my parents, I stayed Friday night with them and got up early Saturday to head out with Dad.

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First ones inside. Yep.

Dad wanted to get there at 8 AM so we’d have enough time (two whole hours) to check out the planes. This sounded excessive to me, but it turns out he was right – in fact, we didn’t even get to Fifi in time to go inside or even get close to it, because at about 9:30 they had her blocked off and ready to taxi over to the runways. I got some video of her later though:


Love the sound of those engines.

Some the planes made you pay before you could go inside them; others offered up their interior for free. I believe this was taken in one of the free ones – no idea who they are, but I’m sure that guy with the iPad knows:

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No air show photo-post would be complete without a little airplane art:

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I did plenty of color shots too:

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A propeller aimed at the moon.

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I probably should be able to tell you what plane this is.

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But I can’t.

For a little vanity, here’s two shots of me in propeller reflections:

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I should have tried jumping.

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My legs aren’t really that short.

Time for a video break: Apparently the show performs some sort of re-enactment every year. This year it was Pearl Harbor. While watching it, my first thought was I bet they do the same plane choreography every year and just give it a different name. Kind of like this re-enactment:

OK, so theirs was a little bit better:

Interesting side note about this battle: Right at the end of it (it went on for quite awhile, because my dad and I went to get lemonade and came back, and it was still going on) they set off about eight of those explosions at once, and it scared the crap out of everyone (as you can see, by the way, we were in the front row of the gated seats. My dad buys up two boxes every year then gives the tickets to friends and co-workers). Right after this, the entire field filled up with smoke, and the faint wind blew it all right over the spectators – then stayed there. For about 20 minutes we all felt as if we were being barbecued. People’s eyes were watering, and everyone was shielding their faces and starting straight down – it was a quite a miserable sight. My next thought was that I would have lasted about fifteen seconds at Pearl Harbor, or anywhere one bomb detonated, much less many bombs – because I was completely incapable of functioning due to the smoke alone. Throw shrapnel, enemy fire, and airplane strikes into the midst and clearly I’m a goner.

Believe it or not, my father actually DID sustain an injury during this battle. At some point during this 20-minute smokeout, a cinder flew into his eye. He did not figure this out until much later in the day, when he eventually ended up at a clinic getting it checked out. But for the rest of the time we were at the show his eye was watering and he was in a fair amount of pain. Being my dad, he tried valiantly to enjoy the show in spite of it, but we ended up leaving about an hour early because he couldn’t stand it anymore. That’s a big deal for him, as he’s been going to this air show every year for at least 20 years and I doubt he’s ever left one second early. Anyway, you’ll be glad to know he is fine now, and was actually feeling much better by the next day. But he was hurting pretty badly that afternoon.

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Smoke ring from one of the explosions.

Honestly the re-enactment didn’t excite me all that much, but the acrobatics sure did. I tried to take some video, but as you can see, I got disoriented and started filming all sideways. I guess that’s a fair indication of how ineffective I’d be as a stunt-plane pilot.


You can hear my dad and I freaking out at the end, LOL.

I was pretty pleased with the iPhone’s performance once again; I managed to get some nice arty shots of the stunt flyers with it:

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Pretty clear for a phone camera!

Backing up a little here – the entire show kicked off the way any good air show should: with skydivers plummeting down to earth attached to huge American flags while the Star Spangled Banner played.

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OK, so you can’t see the flag in this shot, but AMERICA YAY!

And a few more arty shots to wrap things up:

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Reflecting on the air show. Get it? You’re welcome.

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This is an old airplane of some sort. It’s airplane #5. That’s all I’ve got, sorry.

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Sounds reasonable. Unless there’s A MAN ON THE WING OF THE PLANE! Sorry, I always have to say that at least once.

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Follow the instructions

I realize this whole thing might appear to be the antithesis of the way I’d prefer to spend a Saturday – but the truth is, I had a ball. For next year, I think I will take my real camera, and will definitely be there bright and early with Dad at 8 AM, front row. You bet.

5 thoughts on “Airplanes!

  1. Wow – what a post. So much interesting stuff here. Now I see where you get your fascination with planes, it is in your DNA, lol. Great anecdotes. You get so much out of even a couple of hours. I am going to get my SO to watch the videos. He thinks WP is just for geeks, HAH!!

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