Look! Up in the Air!

“Heritage to Horizons: A Century of Airpower since WWI.”  – Maxwell Air Force Base Air Show April 8-9, 2017

From the moment we decided to travel somewhere to see an air show I was like a little kid waiting for Christmas. We studied the schedules of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the United States Navy Blue Angels to determine when and where would be the best place to see them. Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama was an easy choice. We could get there easily from Georgia, there was a great campground close to the base, and it would be nostalgic for me to return to a base where I lived for a year when my father was stationed there.

We arrived at Gunter Hill Campground two days before the air show. Both days we heard the planes as they were practicing and I kept looking in the sky to see what kind of planes they were. Both days I was rewarded when I searched the skies and saw four of the Thunderbirds pass right by the campground.

On the day of the show we arrived early so we could find a good spot to set up our folding chairs to catch all the action. We parked ourselves right in front of where the Thunderbirds were lined up. We could also see the French planes of the Patrouille de France.

United States Air Force Thunderbird
United States Air Force Thunderbird
Patrouille de France at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Patrouille de France at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show

The air show was celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I. There were also historic planes on display.

After the opening ceremonies the show began with the Wings of Blue Parachute Team. Once the performers began it was non stop action all afternoon. From bi-planes performing stunts to the fabulous French team Patrouille de France to a reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Tora Tora Tora group there was never a dull moment.

Wings of Blue at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Wings of Blue at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Red Tails at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Red Tails at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Maxwell Air Show
Maxwell Air Show
Re-enactment of bombing of Pearl Harbor at Maxwell Air Show
Re-enactment of bombing of Pearl Harbor at Maxwell Air Show
Wing Walker at Maxwell Air Show
Wing Walker waving at the crowd at Maxwell Air Show

The French team Patrouille de France (The Patrol of France) were performing to honor the special relationship between the air forces of U. S. and France since World War I.

Patrouille de France at Maxwell Air Show
Patrouille de France at Maxwell Air Show
Patrouille de France2
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France Pilots
Patrouille de France Pilots on their way to sign autographs and pose for pictures

The final act was the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds. Before they began, a group of Air Force recruits were sworn in with their families watching them take their oath in front of the Thunderbird planes.

U.S. Air Force recruits being sworn in
U.S. Air Force recruits being sworn in

Before the pilots climbed into the cockpits their crews performed their pre-flight inspections as the pilots faced the crowd.

U.S.A.F. Thunderbird Pilots
U.S.A.F. Thunderbird Pilots
Thunderbird Pilot waves an American Flag as he taxies down the runway
Thunderbird Pilot waved an American Flag as he taxied down the runway
Takeoff!!
Takeoff!!
Maxwell-Air-Show-Thunderbirds6
Maxwell Air Show U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Just in case you didn’t get enough of the Thunderbirds, here’s a video of one of their signature formations.

Spending the day enjoying this amazing air show was one of the coolest things we’ve done in a long, long time. If the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels are performing any where near you get out there and go to an air show!

17 thoughts on “Look! Up in the Air!

  1. Spectacular!!!! What a privilege to be there for such a special event!!! And at one of our now favorite places!!!
    My dad was USAF, Major when he retired. He was a navigator in WWII. Separated after the war and got back in a year or 2 later as an officer. He had to work hard for his promotions as he was a son of poor immigrants and didn’t have the advantages of a good education. But he had a high IQ that served him well. He was such a patriot as am I! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad’s story was similar to your dad’s. He grew up on a farm in the Appalachian Mountains and only had a high school education. He became a pilot in the Army Air Corps and flew a B24 in Italy in WWII, got married and then got out of the Army. They called him back to active duty and he decided to make the Air Force his career. He retired as a USAF Colonel. I lived in Montgomery in the second grade. We were in one of the new sites at Gunter Hill and on Sunday went to a dock on the river to see a few of the Patrouille de France and Thunderbird formations from there. Some of the other planes flew right over the campground.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I read the book. It was great. A couple of years before my dad passed away I took him to an event with a B24 on display. We were able to get in it and I was amazed that my dad was able to spend so many hours at a time in it. He was over 6 feet tall! He flew 50 missions.

          Is this a new blog?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No, I started it in 2013 as my personal one since the other is “our” blog! Sometimes I wanted to write about things outside of our travels! I do mix them up a little now!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. We really want to go to an air show, but we keep ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. We could have seen the Blue Angels practice for free when we were in Pensacola, but it was January, when they happen to be off. Bummer. Anyway, your photos are fantastic and make us really want to focus on getting to a show, even if we have to go a little out of our way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How funny! The Blue Angels were gone when we were in Ft. Pickens last year. That’s when we started looking for a place we could see an air show. The show we went to was free with free parking. I hope you make it to a show one day. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post. We can relate to you feeling like a kid again knowing you were going to see them. We have seen their performances on a few occasions and always walk away in awe. They and so many others serving this great country are heroes to us.

    Liked by 1 person

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