The airshow at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC was such a kick-in-the-pants for me! When we arrived in town the day before the show, we decided to pop into Base Operations before checking into our hotel. Having a military ID is awesome! Hubby had bought me a new lens to take with me and I thought what a great way to try it out on something I might see the day before. So we walked out beside the flight line and a few people are sitting in chairs holding binoculars. Oh boy…something is about to happen!
Our preshow began with TWO F-15E’s. How powerful! And LOUD!! Look carefully at how close these TWO jets are flying together. Nothing short of impressive!
These two pilots certainly enjoy their jobs! They were all smiles when they took off their helmets. Well done guys!!
Check out the number 5 flying upside down! The Blue Angels state the planes are 18 inches apart!!! Such precision!
Then, sure enough the Blue Angels practiced their entire show right then and there! Holy Cow, it was sensational! I was able to get a handle on my new 4.6 pound lens all the while my husband was standing beside me calling out “eleven o’clock, 2 o’clock, nine o’clock, six o’clock!!!”. I then had a heads up on which direction they were coming towards me. It was so cooooool!!!!! and exciting! You know, just like Christmas morning! I had no idea what my images were looking like because I was shooting so quickly for about 40 minutes straight. After meeting friends for dinner and then hanging out with them at their grandson’s t-ball game (more pictures!), I looked at my pictures! They looked great to me!! I couldn’t wait until the next morning for the real thing! with all of the other aircraft to boot! WooHoo!
Hubby and I had plans to attend for a while and at the very last minute, I learned I could apply for media credentials. So I applied and guess what!??? I was awarded media credentials! While using my new Tamron SP 150-600mm lens, I had the BEST vantage point….a bird’s eye view! Oh my goodness, it was exhilarating! What an opportunity I was given by the military Public Affairs Office. Shout out to Robert Kerns for graciously allowing me this day of one fabulous moment after another! I hope all of you enjoy glancing over these photos and seeing what freedoms we are allowed in this country by some pretty sensational men and women! I was overwhelmed by the entire day! What an experience!
Hundreds of thousands of spectators all enjoying every second in the hot, sweltering heat on the hot tarmac!
The F-15E Strike Eagle is an air-to-ground attack aircraft. When Hubby and I were stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB) in North Carolina, it was common to see this aircraft flying so low in our community as it was on its flight path. The sound of freedom at its best! When hubby retired and we moved away from SJAFB, what we missed the most were the people and the sights and sounds of military aircraft. Did you know the letters on the top of the wing (ex: SJ) are the indicator of where that particular aircraft is stationed? This one is Seymour Johnson.
The F-15E has a wingspan of 42.8 feet, length of 63.8 feet, height 18.5 feet and weighs a whopping 37,550 pounds. It has a fuel capacity of 35,500 pounds and can fly up to 1,875 mph. Phew! It’s impressive to say the least. Oh, it’s maximum takeoff weight is 81,000 pounds when it’s full of fuel. My fun facts are based on information from the Keepsake SJAFB Air Show Edition/The Goldsboro News-Argus’ Wright Times.
Hubby first flew the KC-135R Stratotanker right out of pilot training. I grew up watching this plane fly overhead all while growing up in Upstate NY. I have to admit that I wasn’t that interested in hearing my older brother rattle off what was flying above us each time we were outside tossing the football or playing catch! Especially when the air show was in town. Actually I wasn’t interested AT ALL! Hearing him mention the KC-10, A-7, A-10, C-141, B-52….Yawwwwwnn! I would say “Just throw the ball!” because all I was hearing was “QRT-9, FX-7, ZBR-25” and it made no sense to me at all! Well, times have changed! I became very interested in military aircraft, especially when I began dating a military pilot! It then all made perfect sense to me. Oh yeah, I have since apologized to my brother for my rudeness towards his great knowledge of all of the above! I admit, I was sometimes the bratty sister. I have made up for that as well!
Just a sweet fly-by of the KC-135 flanked by F-15E’s. Again, just so fun and cool to see!
The KC-13R’s wingspan is 130 feet, 10 inches, it’s length is 136 feet, 3 inches and it can fly 530 miles per hour at 30,000 feet. Maximum takeoff weight is 322,500 pounds (to include up to 37 passengers, cargo and fuel) and it can transfer up to 200,000 pounds of fuel while flying! There is a three person crew; pilot, co-pilot and boom operator. Some KC-135 missions require a navigator.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team, Black Daggers dropped into the airshow. They floated down with an 800-foot-long American Flag. That was how the airshow began….impressive and made me feel so patriotic!
Jacquie Warda is a 50 year old female aerobatic pilot. Every flip, dip and spin was so much fun to watch.
Gene Soucy, world class aerobatic pilot performing flawlessly.
Tora, Tora, Tora: The Pearl Harbor commemoration show which recalls the infamous attack on the morning of December 7, 1941 by Japan. So chilling and impressive!
These three aircrafts; A-10 Thunderbolt, P-51, and F-22 represent a bit of history during the Heritage Flight demo that shows the current fighter jets that are used in the military along with the old warbird. This performance was a tribute to the U.S. Air Force and a living memorial to the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the Air Force. It was a beautiful display!
Major Dan “Rock” Dickinson, F-22 Raptor Pilot, Commander of Demonstration Team, just before demonstrating the capabilities of the most feared fighter jet in the world. The Raptor does both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. When I spoke with Major Dickinson, he mentioned he has logged in more than 900 flying hours in the F-22. This is his second year as a demo pilot. He absolutely loves flying this aircraft. Major Dickinson was actually assigned this aircraft straight out of pilot training. He has been a pilot for 12 years and a Raptor pilot for 9 years. His Grandfather, Uncle and Dad were pilots, so he is carrying on the tradition. I asked Major Dickinson if he gets nervous prior to a demo and he said “No, it’s just exhilarating and exciting every time”. He stated that he practices the Heritage Flight every week to stay proficient. The Heritage Flight took 4 months to train for proficiency. Major Dickinson mentioned how great it is during the air shows to display what assets are available for our military to defend our country and to inspire young people to join the military. To be able to chat with Major Dickinson prior to his impressive demonstration was beyond enjoyable! What a nice guy! Such a small world too….his wife Erin grew up in the town where I live and graduated from the same high school of where my daughters graduated. We salute you “Rock” and thank you for your service and displaying your passion for our military! Hats off to Erin for keeping those home fires burning while Dan is off and about in the Raptor.
Check out the weapon bay doors as Major Dickinson opens them up for us to see where the bombs are stored.
And upside down!!! How cool is all of this?!!
TSgt Fleming, SSgt Rodriguez and SSgt VanWatermulen looking all sharp in their specially designed AF uniforms for the F-22 Raptor Demonstration and Heritage Flight Team. They are three of the ten enlisted members of the team specializing in the safety and maintenance of the Raptor. Their expertise allows Maj Dickinson to accurately fly and execute his aerial maneauvers while flying over 10 million spectators each year. Very impressive! Thank you guys for your service as well! We appreciate your hard work and dedication.
Well, the F-22 Raptor was a sight for sore eyes! Major Dickinson did a fabulous job showing off for all of us. What a fun job he has while we are all on the ground watching in complete awe! The entire tradition of the crew chiefs saluting the pilots as they approach their aircraft, is just so neat to watch!End of the day, the official Blue Angels airshow! Nothing short of exhilarating with acute precision beginning on the ground and into the air. This pilot Lt Tyler Davies #6 is a Georgia Boy! He is a native of Kennesaw, Georgia and graduated from North Cobb High School. Again, what a small world we live in! Lt Davies, you did a phenomenal job at this air show. Way to go! Thank you for your service!
What an incredible air show this was! I cannot wait for 2019 to attend the next one at Seymour Johnson AFB NC! What was one of your favorite air shows to attend?
Enjoying those sights and sounds of freedom,