I got wind of this air show only a few days before it was to happen. I did a little research by going to the website but in hindsight I could have done more. I found out where it was and how to get there since I was not real familiar with the area.
The entrance to the Fort Worth Alliance Airport is elegant. It is large (of course, its Texas) and open.
Once I arrived I found the traffic control very well controlled. I was a bit surprised by the parking mostly because I did not do my homework on the website as I should have. The $30 (or $40 for “premium” parking) for parking (in cash) was a bit surprising but then I remembered that the event had no admission charge. I brought my little Kia car which I mention only because the parking was in a field. The ramp up to the field and the field itself was more suited to a 4-wheel drive than my little car but I ended up with no real problems other than a face-full of grass before closing my window.
Once inside there were many static displays of aircraft. While there were some modern aircraft, it was the WWII aircraft that commanded attention due to their colorful paint schemes and history.
Not to be outdone by the ancient ones were some Vietnam era and modern aircraft. Shown here is a Vietnam Huey helicopter with the name “Mental” on the side. Next to this is the modern-day Osprey which is impressive not only in its abilities but its size. The aircraft on the right is a Kodiak.
By far the most impressive static aircraft was the B52 on display. This was popular not only for its general size and history but for the shade that its massive wingspan and body offers. Note the number of people in the shade versus the sun. The stairs – with a lengthy line – lead to a view of the small cockpit that the pilots get to operate this beast from.
This picture shows the tarmac from atop one of the other large plane displays that offer a walk-through of the plane’s cockpit. In the distance are the Blue Angels on the runway.
There were also lots of food booths serving everything from “faire food” to typical hot dogs and hamburgers. In addition to lots of food there was an area for kids to play in which had inflatable slides and jump houses as well as trampolines for younger kids.
There are a couple of tips for going to an event like this. One is that you will likely get lots of sun so wear sunscreen. Even if you find shade you will be looking up into the sun to see the flying events. Also, unless you will be paying extra for the seating, you will want to bring chairs. I walked the event for several hours so by the end I was ready for a seat somewhere.
Here are the future show events awaiting their time on the runway for their turn in the air. From left to right there are two F22 Raptors, the Blue Angels, and the Breitling Jet Team.
The aerial portion of the show starts off with the All-Veteran Parachute Team parachuting into the airport. This was shortly followed up by an aerial fireworks display.
One of the fan favorites was not an airplane but it was a jet. The Shockwave jet powered truck was fun to watch and listen to. It was heard from anywhere on the airport grounds. While the flames were for show it did a couple of speed runs down the runway at over 300 mph. In one of the runs it raced a plane across the airport. The only downside to this was that it was so fast that it was difficult to see the whole run down the runway but you could hear it wherever you were.
A sentimental favorite had to be the Heritage flight. It had a P51 Mustang flying in formation with an F22 Raptor. This was a tribute to our veterans both past and present. You couldn’t watch this flight without the thought of how far this nation has evolved in aircraft technology.
The Breitling Jet Team started off the events “main events”. This is a civilian jet team performing aerial ballets of precision. They fly smaller jets than the later Blue Angels fly.
The performance that I wanted to see was from the F22 Raptors (There were 2 of them). This is one of our newest planes with excellent performance in the air. While it was stunning to watch it was very difficult to photograph. Its maneuverability was staggering so it was hard to follow. The other issue was the plane’s grey color scheme that blended into the sky much too good to be photographed well. Good for defense but bad for photo opportunities.
Of course everyone (especially me) was waiting for the main event – the Blue Angels. But first, “Fat Albert”, the Blue Angels C-130 support plane. This plane with its blue and gold paint scheme is a beauty to watch fly by. It performs some interesting maneuvers for a plane this size. It has rocket assist take off and a steep landing capability which it demonstrates among several graceful flybys. Just a gorgeous plane to watch in the air.
There is an awe about watching such a powerful plane such as the F-18 on its own. Watching several of them fly as if they were one through rolls and turns is almost indescribable. The sheer power of these aircraft is experienced when they fly over the crowd from behind everyone at a few hundred feet above you. Your whole body shakes from the roar of the engines.
Watching the Blue Angels is a combination of raw power and artistic grace as they paint their designs in the sky above.
It’s these performances that makes many of us want to get in a jet fighter, rev up the engines, and take to the sky. The only downside to the show was when it was over. It was almost sad that they had to descend back to Earth and land. The good news is that they will be return and continue to inspire us all.
It is always a treat to watch these elegant aircraft fly gracefully and powerfully through the skies. The roar of the engines is amazing to hear. I love to watch the Blue Angels anytime I get a chance.
For more info about the Fort Worth Air Show here is the link: