Sunday, May 17, 2009
I think one of the reasons was that in Chicago, everyone is basically gathered along the shoreline of Lake Michigan waiting for the planes to arrive and do their thing. Today's event took place right on the airfield at Andrews AFB, and the first thing you saw as your shuttle (from FedEx Field) pulled in were the HUGE transport planes used by the Air Force to transport tanks & such, including a C-130 Hercules (the one where the front nose opens up). You got to walk right up to the planes, walk inside, and talk to the pilots, and in some cases go into the cockpit.
One unexpected treat that those who came today got to see was that President Obama was departing in the morning from Andrews AFB to South Bend, IN, to speak at the Notre Dame graduation ceremonies. They announced that this was going to happen, and we saw the three Marine helicopters come in (the President is always on one of the three, but very few actually know which one, exactly). Then he boarded Air Force One and we got to see it take off. Very neat.
What little boy wouldn't get excited to climb into planes you only see in the movies or on TV, or to watch a jet zoom by silently only to be followed a couple seconds later by its sound, or have his eardrums blown out by the intense crackling and bright glow of full-on afterburners zooming by again and again, or watch a jet zoom by just under Mach 1 only to abruptly go vertical and shoot 2 miles straight up into the sky? The answer is no little boy would not get excited by that, and this little boy/pilot had BIG fun today in aviation heaven.