Wednesday, May 23, 2007

“Celebrate Freedom”, Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC, May 19, 2007

So this is how the Thunderbirds are treated! We would have flown just for the fun of it, but our hosts at Fort Jackson’s “Celebrate Freedom” airshow pulled out all the stops and provided hotel rooms, rental cars, fuel, smoke oil, hangar space, lunch and VIP treatment wherever we went. Now this is the way to host an event! The only thing they didn’t provide was smooth air.

The call went out and RV’s arrived from as far away as Texas. Falcon brought Jarhead and Phantom from the Lone Star State. Kahuna, Speedy, and Subob represented TeamRV and Palmetto flight rounded out the top ten with Radar, Smokey, Stripes (or is it Tadpole now) and Ken Harrill (gotta screw up sometime Ken so we can hang a deserving call sign on you).

We got to open the show by circling a parachutist trailing Old Glory and red smoke. The three smokers, Kahuna, Smokey and Jarhead must have done a dozen high “G” turns around the jumper before exiting the show to recage their gyros and unwind their minds! The three then joined up with the rest of the group to perform several opposing passes of six and four-ship flights led by Falcon and Kahuna. (Ed. See 6-ship "Arrow" in photo above.)

After lunch we launched again to close the show with a ten-ship formation, led by Falcon. By now the thermals were at full strength and staying in position was an extreme effort by any standard. The airspace was not “waivered” so we were limited to 1000 feet, thus our ground observers couldn’t see how much the flight was tossing about. I’m sure we were all in perfect formation for a few nanoseconds once in a while! Hope all the pictures were snapped at those times…. (Just once, I would like to perform an airshow at the crack of dawn when the air is cool and placid.)

Our thanks to James Clark (Radar) and the entire ground support team at KCUB and Fort Jackson that made this show a “keeper”. See you next year!

Submitted by Ron “Smokey” Schreck
(Ed. More photos later.)

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