April 2, 2012
Photos by Thomas B. Haines.
Ground-based Fourth of July fireworks displays will never be the same. Once you’ve seen fireworks shooting from a helicopter, streaming from a glider’s wingtips, or highlighting a nighttime aerobatics routine—choreographed to music—not even Macy’s dramatic New York City celebration can compare.
The Sun ‘n Fun night airshow, which drew smaller crowds and featured less dramatic aerobatics than the daytime show, still wowed spectators.
The Aeroshell team performed aerobatics from dusk into the night. With a minimal to nonexistent horizon as the dark settled in, the aircraft’s lights were visible as well as lit smoke streams resembling comets streaking through the sky. Two soloists performed tandem loops, with each coming down the backside, their aircraft bellies facing one another. Gasps could be heard up and down the flight line as the two aircraft passed one another.
Other performances included an aerobatic glider dancing with streams of white fireworks trailing each wingtip, a helicopter shooting fireworks in 360 degrees while towing the American flag, a homebuilt with lights timed to music that emanated from the aircraft, and a highspeed “taxi” by a jet truck.
After the airshow, Skyspot Advertising gave those in the Sun ‘n Fun campgrounds a reason to look skyward. Advertising messages scrolled across the underside of Roger Caram-Andruet’s aircraft, highlighting everything from Heaven’s Landing to AOPA’s tent.
With a closing speed of about 900 knots, Air Force pilots on a training mission have seconds to aim and shoot heat-seeking and radar guided missiles at a drone target. Their success came from repeated rehearsals. But as author Larry Brown writes, “there is nothing like the real thing to gain experience.”
A Wisconsin company is now offering its upset training course to all pilots.
Describe a scenario where the potential for destabilization is intrinsic to the approach.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.