Last summer, I went to the Boston Portsmouth Air Show at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, which was the first annual show of its kind. Combined with a clear, sunny weather, it made for a great first experience using slide film. There were oodles of planes of all shapes and sizes to explore and various back-to-back flying exhibitions to check out. Best of all, being an aviation enthusiast or expert was not required to appreciate all of these unique sights!
Years ago, Portsmouth International Airport at Pease had many air shows. But for many years there were no air shows, until a weekend last year in August. In case an air show is a purely American phenomenon (which I would not be surprised if it is), I suppose it would help to explain that an air show is where you pay to watch different types of planes do all kind of aerobatic stunts. Usually, there are also planes parked on a tarmac for viewing.
I am no plane expert, but I saw tons of different aircraft that day from all sorts of eras and places. There were Soviet planes, Brazilian planes, US Air Force planes, US Navy planes, WWII-era planes, helicopters. For those of you worried that this is starting to sound too militaristic, there were small aerobatic bi-wing planes, commercial aircraft, personal aircraft, and even planes used for agriculture. Only at an air show do you get to walk right up to and touch some of these aircraft. (Or, in the case of the larger ones, walk underneath!) At this show, there were a few opportunities to actually step inside and sit in the cockpit. Beside (or in) each craft, there was either a pilot or several members of the crew to talk a bit about the plane and answer questions.
As for highlight of the different shows, the famous Blue Angels of the US Navy performed. Formed in 1946, they are an elite group of six pilots who fly F/A-18 Hornets. Their trademark formations are the diamond, which four members form, and the lead and opposing solos, which are the roles of the two remaining members. The Blue Angels take on stunts which are impressive but also dangerous, such as flying belly-to-belly or back-to-back, either of which requires one plane to be upside down for easily ten seconds. All of the close maneuvers involve the planes being a mere twelve inches from each other! It is hard to describe all of their various moves with words (and I also do not want to potentially spoil anything), but the list includes rolls, slow passes, high-speed passes, sharp turns, and even flying a mile high in a matter of mere seconds! Each moment of the Blue Angel show was quite thrilling.
Sure, an air show is no cheap ordeal. Tickets to this particular show, which will be happening again on August 13 and 14, cost $20 for an adult. But is it worth it? For sure, the experience may give you a new appreciation for these feats of technology. As a huge plus, analogue cameras are ideal for capturing these planes which move so quickly through the sky. Around me, I heard people fighting with their digital cameras to get the timing right, while I snapped away merrily and was really pleased with the results from the photo lab. I hope you consider going and maybe I will see you there in August!