Monday, September 28, 2015

Point Mugu Air Show

These guys were called the Breitling Jet Team. They were really fun to watch.
We had a trip to California planned to visit my brother and his family, and it was right during our Airplane Unit, so I just looked online to see if there was anything airplane-related we could do while we were there. There were lots of museums, of course, but by happy coincidence, there was an Air Show at the Naval Air Base at Point Mugu, just a couple hours away from my brother's house! Since he loves airplanes too, we of course decided we would go. And we were so glad we did!

It was the best Air Show. I haven't been to one since I was little, but I can't imagine anything being as good as this one was. There were tons of cool planes to see and explore on the ground, and then great air acts every half hour or so. And the last act was the Blue Angels! They are a team (I'm sure you've heard of them; even I had) that flies F/A-18s and demonstrates all the maneuvers and precision flying that goes with being a pilot for the Navy. They were totally amazing. We would have waited in line for hours (and we did! ha ha. It was SO crowded driving on to the base) to see them, and then to get to see all the other stuff TOO…it was wonderful. I don't know if I've remembered all the names of the planes right, but the boys helped me, so hopefully I don't mislabel anything in this post.
I thought the best plane we saw there was this gigantic C-5 Hercules. We even got to walk through it. It was nice to be in the shade for a minute on such a hot day!
Every part of this thing is just enormous. The tail!
(Stunt plane flying by above the tail)
Look at Sebby compared to those massive engines!
And look at Abe and the girls by the huge landing gear wheels! It was an amazing airplane to see up close.
There were some other big planes too. This is a C-130.
Inside the C-130

I don't know what this tanker plane is called, but it's the kind that can drop water on wildfires. It did a water drop demonstration and it was really cool!
Here is an F/A-18, like the Blue Angels fly
Sebby with another F/A-18
We got to look inside the cockpit of this MK-58
This is one of the Predator UAVs. We were kind of surprised we even got to see this, since we thought they were still pretty secret.

We can't remember what this one is, but it's some kind of information-gathering plane—look at that huge radar tower on top!
This little stunt biplane was really good. I can't believe how many twists and turns and ups and downs he could do. Here's a short video:
And now on to the best part, the Blue Angels! This KC-135 is actually part of the Blue Angels team too. It's a refueling plane.
Then there are the six F/A-18s. Often it's just four flying together in this diamond formation, and the two others zooming in for other maneuvers. The announcer said that in their diamond, there is only 18 inches from wingtip of one plane to the canopy of the next. 18 inches!!!
I loved it when they glinted in the sun like this.
They moved together like one plane. It was just astounding. HOW do they ever manage such precision?!?
They can get so CLOSE to each other without colliding! It makes you gasp to watch it.
Goldie was impressed.
This was cool: the jets coming between the sun and the ground, casting their huge shadows on the clouds of smoke below.
Short video
I loved it most when they turned on their smoke trails and made these beautiful patterns in the sky.
Afterwards, we waited around for the crowds to die down, so we got to sit outside near the runway and watch the sun go down over the airfield.
The C-5 got all closed up.
Theodore smiled at everyone.
And finally, we drove off down the coast; sunset behind us, moonrise ahead. What a perfect day.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

UVU Flight School Field Trip

This plane is a Diamond DA-20
We had the best field trip to the UVU flight school at the Provo Airport! It was way better than we even hoped for. I had seen on their website that they offered tours for "prospective students," so I emailed about it sort of tentatively, wondering if they would consider children as young as mine to be "prospective students." The girl I talked to, Ashley, was AWESOME. She was so friendly and nice and totally willing to set up a time for us to come.

I figured they'd probably show us a few classrooms and give us a brochure or two, and I was hoping maybe we could peek out the window at the planes, too. I thought the airport security was probably high, like it is everywhere, so I doubted they'd let us into any actual working areas of the airport.

Our tour guides were so great. They were some recent graduates of the flight school, I think (one was about to become an instructor?) and I wish I could remember their names. I think one of them was Doug. Anyway, they were the nicest guys. They talked about all kinds of things the children were interested in, and they patiently answered question after question. It was perfect.

And THEN, they took us right out onto the airfield to see the planes! And not only did they let us look at them, but they let the kids climb up and sit inside and work the controls! They were SO happy. Just look at their faces! :)
This is a Diamond DA-24
UVU has a few different types of small planes for students to learn on. We sat in all of them. They are really cute, lightweight aircraft.
Now that is a happy smile on Sebby.
We saw several helicopters taking off. There is a helicopter flight school there too, I think.
Junie was pretty excited about it all.
It was a really cool windy, stormy day. The clouds were so beautiful.
After seeing the planes, our guides took us in to see the simulators. This one was good because it was kind of a low-tech beginner one, and they let the children push all the buttons they wanted to.
This was the next tier up. We weren't allowed to push buttons on this one. :)
And this was the big simulator, which looks just like a commercial airplane cockpit (it happened to be a CRJ-200, which is Seb's favorite plane, so that was great). The children LOVED sitting in here. They peppered our guide with questions. He was so patient. He even said we could schedule a time to come back and try out the simulators sometime. We will certainly take him up on that!
To sum up: the UVU Aviation Program looks awesome. We love them. We learned a lot and thought this was one of our best field trips ever!
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