Episode 77

History of Aviation in Air Shows

🎙 Warning: These new shirts may cause history-inspired travel

If you didn't know, Jenn is a former Navy Pilot. So needless to say we didn't need any excuses to go to the annual air show in Virginia Beach.

We learned about some aircraft and later learned some air show history we never knew before; including how long air shows have been around as well as when the Blue Angels first started performing!

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Transcript
Jenn:

I just sat down in a chair, not knowing they're assigned

Jenn:

chairs, especially the front row.

Jenn:

And I sat right in the front row.

Jenn:

I don't know who's chair I sat in.

Jenn:

And, uh, the CO was there and the CO looked at me and he was like,

Jenn:

like, you know, and in colorful Navy words, he asked me who I was.

Jenn:

And I told him I was a midshipman and I wanted to fly an F14.

Jenn:

And he told me in colorful words to get out.

Jenn:

And I told him no, that this was my dream and I wasn't leaving till I got a flight.

Jenn:

And he started to laugh.

Jenn:

And he asked me what school I went to because he said I

Jenn:

had a lot of, for a woman.

Jenn:

And I said, I went to Penn State and he said, Big Ten, you're flying.

Jenn:

I got very lucky that day.

Scott:

Welcome to Talk With History.

Scott:

I'm your host, Scott, here with my wife and historian, Jen.

Scott:

Hello.

Scott:

On this podcast, we give you insights into our history inspired world travels,

Scott:

YouTube channel journey, and examine history through deeper conversations

Scott:

with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there.

Scott:

Jen.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

Before we start talking about the history of air shows, as I'm sure

Scott:

everybody knows that this is about, it's going to be the show title.

Scott:

I have a joke for you.

Scott:

Oh, goodness.

Scott:

Okay.

Scott:

What happens to a bad airplane joke?

Jenn:

Goes up in

Scott:

flames.

Scott:

It never lands.

Scott:

It never lands.

Scott:

So as you know, uh, this is, this show is about, uh, the history of

Scott:

air shows and women in aviation.

Scott:

So, uh, I'm excited to...

Scott:

to jump into that.

Scott:

But before we do, I always like to ask people for reviews.

Scott:

We actually did get a recent review, a five star review from Lady Blackwood.

Scott:

Sounds fancy.

Scott:

Uh, five star review.

Scott:

My kind of stuff.

Scott:

I've always been a Big World War II history buff.

Scott:

This is freaking amazing.

Scott:

Why, thank you, Miss Lady Blackwood.

Scott:

I don't know, she must have heard of World

Jenn:

War II show.

Scott:

Yeah, must have.

Scott:

Must have just absolutely loved it.

Scott:

Um, so, again, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Five Stars and Spotify.

Scott:

Uh, you know, unlike the History Channel, we are out there doing it and actually

Scott:

covering history, and we were at Naval Air Station Oceana this past week, and we're

Scott:

going to talk a little bit about that.

Scott:

From the death defying stunts of early aviators to the trail blazing women

Scott:

who broke barriers in the clouds, this episode of Talk With History is a tribute

Scott:

to the incredible individuals who have shaped the thrilling world of aviation.

Scott:

And it was only a few years ago that a young Jennifer Mitchell

Scott:

went to an air show and it forever changed the course of her life.

Scott:

And that young Jennifer is now sitting with us today

Scott:

talking about naval aviation.

Scott:

So Jen, let's talk about the history of air shows, what they were celebrating

Scott:

over at Naval Air Station Oceana in 50 years of women in aviation.

Jenn:

That's so cool.

Jenn:

Thanks, babe.

Jenn:

So air shows, you know, they're kind of, uh, Been around since aviation in general.

Jenn:

First air show was in 1909 in France, and then America wasn't far behind.

Jenn:

Our first air show here was in 1910.

Jenn:

1909?

Jenn:

Wow.

Jenn:

And when you think, uh, first, the first flight was 1907.

Jenn:

It's not long after.

Jenn:

Sure, everybody wants to see it.

Jenn:

Everyone wants to see it.

Jenn:

And it really was, at the time, people were just dumbfounded by

Jenn:

this new apparatus that could fly.

Jenn:

I'm sure, I'm sure the

Scott:

conversation probably went like, I don't believe it.

Scott:

Come with me, I'll show you.

Jenn:

And people traveled to fields, to, you know, where, um, runways and

Jenn:

aircraft were, and to be able to see them.

Jenn:

And to see what they can do, and pilots practicing, and how they could fly.

Jenn:

And like I said, in 1910, they came here to America.

Jenn:

They were pretty popular, um, World War I.

Jenn:

after made them even more popular.

Jenn:

So after World War One, of course, and then you get kind of two types of air

Jenn:

shows, you get aerobatic air shows, kind of like the one we saw where people are

Jenn:

going to do stunts, or you get static air shows where people you just want

Jenn:

to see the aircraft on the tarmac.

Jenn:

And you get to go in the aircraft and look around or it can be a combination of both.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Scott:

And that's what we did this, this last, actually just yesterday.

Scott:

And that's why this podcast is a little bit late because

Scott:

we were exhausted yesterday.

Scott:

We were out there all day climbing in the aircraft with the kids and seeing

Scott:

some amazing aviation acrobatics, which we'll talk a little bit more about

Jenn:

later.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And so like, you know, the beginning of air shows really were People traveling

Jenn:

to the air show and then after world war one it became more of a the air

Jenn:

show came to you Yeah, traveling around.

Jenn:

Yeah, they called it barnstorming because it would come to farm areas, right and

Jenn:

Basically, you know fly by barns and then

Scott:

that's where all the kind of large tracts of land.

Scott:

Yeah, we're had Straight places for people to land

Jenn:

and take off exactly and that's where really like You know, started to

Jenn:

encroach on the masses because again, it's still a relatively new thing unless

Jenn:

you're in the military or you have a lot of money or you live close to an airport,

Jenn:

you're not going to see aircraft light.

Jenn:

It's not like today where they're readily available.

Jenn:

And in barnstorming airshow, time, people would also take people

Jenn:

up flying and that would be like their first time ever flying.

Jenn:

It would be like the two seater, the by the bi wing aircraft that

Jenn:

would take people up flying.

Jenn:

And so that was a very big thing to do in those early air shows.

Jenn:

And again, it was more of a show where you sat and watched the airplanes kind of

Jenn:

fly around and what they did and then they would come and land and then if you paid

Jenn:

a couple bucks you could fly in the back.

Jenn:

And that's how basically pilots made their lives, their livelihood.

Jenn:

But what we went to was like a military air show.

Jenn:

Yeah, it wasn't civilian.

Jenn:

Uh, I don't, the news was there.

Jenn:

Um, they had their

Scott:

helicopter.

Scott:

Definitely military focused for us getting on.

Scott:

So Naval Air Station Oceana.

Scott:

Think Virginia Beach, right?

Scott:

Norfolk area.

Scott:

And I mean, that is like kind of the.

Scott:

Hub here on the on the east coast for naval aviation.

Scott:

I mean aside from maybe Pensacola

Jenn:

sure So, you know, I have sistered at the historic marker that

Jenn:

says naval aviation started in here in Norfolk in 1911 and So if you get

Jenn:

if you're following the timeline first air show 1909 France first air show

Jenn:

in America 1910 Naval aviation starts 1911 you know aviation is just being

Jenn:

innovated so quickly at this time.

Jenn:

But Oceana doesn't open, uh, as an air station until 1943.

Jenn:

Okay.

Jenn:

So during World War II.

Jenn:

And then, uh, the first air show was in 1953.

Jenn:

So 10 years after that.

Jenn:

So we went in, uh, 2023.

Jenn:

So we went to the 70th air show.

Jenn:

Oh, that's cool.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So that was really cool.

Scott:

And didn't realize

Jenn:

that.

Jenn:

Yeah, so that was really neat.

Jenn:

And then of course, um, we got to see some static aircraft.

Jenn:

There's lots of, today there's a lot more than, uh, would be in the older days.

Jenn:

Well,

Scott:

and that was one of the things that I was really looking forward

Scott:

to because our kids are old, are old enough now to kind of appreciate

Scott:

and want, still want to do it.

Scott:

They're not too cool, right, to, to not to want to go do those things.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

But also what we got to do, and we'll talk more about Nose Art later.

Scott:

That's a separate episode.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

We made an episode from there.

Scott:

Yep.

Scott:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

We...

Scott:

Um, but you got to talk to the kids about this is what mom flew when,

Scott:

you know, this is what I flew.

Scott:

This is, you know, not me personally, but this was you talking to the kids

Scott:

and like, I flew this helicopter and I landed this other, you know, big ass

Scott:

helicopter over here, the sea stallion.

Scott:

I landed this on the Tarawa.

Scott:

You know, so you got to talk to the kids about that, right?

Jenn:

Yeah, it was very, it was neat for me that I think it was the first time I

Jenn:

actually got to see the helicopter I flew.

Jenn:

And so I flew the SH 60 Bravo, which is a Blackhawk helicopter

Jenn:

painted silver, uh, for the Navy.

Jenn:

And we call it a Seahawk.

Jenn:

But, so they had a Blackhawk there.

Jenn:

And so the kids got to actually see the helicopter mommy flew.

Jenn:

And I don't think they've ever gotten to see that before.

Jenn:

And I did a whole episode on nose art and things that are painted on the aircraft.

Jenn:

And I gave a little.

Jenn:

background of that.

Jenn:

And so we were filming that episode as well, but I was also pointing to other

Jenn:

stuff on the helicopter and people were listening and paying attention and just

Jenn:

everything you have to do as a pilot, how you preflight every time you fly and what

Jenn:

you're preflighting, what you're opening and what you're kind of looking for.

Jenn:

And then we went into the sea stallion and there was a female pilot there.

Jenn:

And I was speaking to her for a little bit and they are

Jenn:

decommissioning the sea stallion.

Jenn:

So we talked

Scott:

about her and you were telling me before we kind of got up closer to the

Scott:

sea stallion, we were standing in line, how old these aircraft were and they just

Scott:

kind of keep keeping them around because.

Scott:

I mean, they use these heavily, right?

Scott:

They're heavy

Jenn:

transport.

Jenn:

Yeah, I mean, so a sea stallion is a beast.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Seven rotors, I mean.

Jenn:

And you can basically get one of the small tanks inside of them.

Jenn:

Plus they can transport a lot of troops.

Jenn:

So they are, they're heavy lifting, heavy load.

Jenn:

Um, and, but they're just getting too hard to fix now.

Jenn:

Too expensive.

Scott:

Long of a tooth, right?

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And they had some...

Scott:

It was a lot of army reserve.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

, you know, that was there.

Scott:

So they had like a CH 47, which is Chinook.

Scott:

Yep.

Scott:

Um, and some other larger aircraft.

Scott:

Three.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

, they had the 50 threes and then, you know, um, not really jets that you could

Scott:

get up CLO per up close and personal to, but they had T 30 fours, I think.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Three.

Jenn:

Yep.

Jenn:

They had T 30 fours.

Jenn:

They had a couple eighteens out there.

Jenn:

Like you said, you could get close, we could get close to.

Jenn:

picture them.

Jenn:

And they had the blue angels off in the distance.

Jenn:

So I took some video of the blue angels.

Jenn:

You couldn't get close to them either because they're flying

Scott:

now.

Scott:

Speaking of the blue angels, and I think I had heard this, but I didn't really

Scott:

dawn on me, but they have their first female flying for the blue angels.

Scott:

And so that was kind of the big thing on Sunday.

Scott:

They were emphasizing 50 years of women in aviation, 50 years of women in aviation.

Scott:

And you were telling me, and for those listening, Jen was winged in 2001.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And Jen's always told me and she kind of talking about it again as we're

Scott:

walking around this air show and there's multiple female pilots around and there's

Scott:

female air crew and Jen would you would talk about when you would go to air

Scott:

shows when you were flying and you'd be the only female pilot at an air show.

Scott:

Big air

Jenn:

show like this.

Jenn:

Yeah, I mean, I really got to see a lot of change in aviation I mean we

Jenn:

think 50 years of women in aviation It doesn't mean 50 years of women in the

Jenn:

majority of aviation or in a dating aviation These are just women who were

Jenn:

the first to go to flight school and pass It doesn't even mean that they

Jenn:

flew in combat because they didn't open combat for women until the 1990s.

Jenn:

And then even then you had to qualify in those combat aircraft

Jenn:

to be able to fly in combat.

Jenn:

And that took time as well.

Jenn:

And it wasn't easy.

Jenn:

And so these women, you know, ones or twosies here and there,

Jenn:

but it wasn't like a big group.

Jenn:

And when you think about it, you know, we're just getting the first

Jenn:

female blue angel, Amanda Lee.

Jenn:

She flies number three in 2022.

Jenn:

Thunderbirds were a little before the Navy.

Jenn:

They had their first female in 2005, but it's still relatively new

Jenn:

and they've had one other female.

Jenn:

So it's not like it's like half of the pilots are female.

Jenn:

And even then.

Jenn:

in squadrons today.

Jenn:

It's not like half of the pilots are female.

Jenn:

It doesn't really work that way.

Jenn:

We're getting more women.

Jenn:

And so I was talking to the air crewman on the 53 who was a

Jenn:

woman, and the pilot was a woman.

Jenn:

So I was like, Oh my gosh, to see a female crewman.

Jenn:

I never saw a female air crewman.

Jenn:

That's the person who's in the back of the air, the helicopter when you fly.

Jenn:

I asked her, have you had an all female?

Jenn:

flight.

Jenn:

And she goes, I had one last week.

Jenn:

That was never even a possibility when I flew.

Jenn:

There wasn't even enough women to have an all female flight.

Jenn:

I flew one time with another woman.

Jenn:

I flew with Amy Bowerschmidt, who's now a admiral.

Jenn:

I flew with her in, um, when I was going through the rag and for the, for.

Jenn:

60 Bravos, and that was probably my only Female flight that I ever

Jenn:

had and so it was it's amazing to See what has happened in aviation

Jenn:

like I feel like I was halfway Yeah,

Scott:

you were I mean think about 50 years.

Scott:

Yeah, it was like 20 years ago that you were you were at these air shows

Jenn:

Yeah, you know so I feel like I was halfway, so I always tell the

Jenn:

story I we flew I did my cross country when you get your wings you do a cross

Jenn:

country and I Did my cross country to Dayton, Ohio for the air show.

Jenn:

They do a big air show there 'cause the Wright brothers are from Dayton

Jenn:

and that's where the Air Force base is.

Jenn:

So they do a big air show, almost like this air show, which is a static

Jenn:

display air show and aerobatics are happening at the same time.

Jenn:

And I think the Blue Angels even flew there at that air show.

Jenn:

And um, so we made our helicopter static.

Jenn:

Kind of like what we saw when you could climb in the aircraft

Jenn:

and look around it and touch it.

Jenn:

And so I'm standing in front of the helicopter talking about the helicopter

Jenn:

and I tell people I notice a lot of little girls coming over and I noticed

Jenn:

a lot of dads bringing the little girls over and I, I'm still a student

Jenn:

pilot, so I'm just like, it's terrible to say, but I'm just making stuff up.

Jenn:

I did this a lot.

Jenn:

Even on the Tarawa.

Jenn:

I remember my first...

Jenn:

You were, you

Scott:

were really bad about that.

Jenn:

I was like, my first day on the Tarawa.

Jenn:

I'm a pilot on a LAJ and I don't know.

Jenn:

And they put me in charge of tours.

Jenn:

I don't know.

Jenn:

This is where the missiles are.

Jenn:

I don't know anything about surface Navy.

Jenn:

Jen, we don't have that on the ship.

Jenn:

The missiles, they put them over there.

Jenn:

And people were asking me, they really have those on the ship?

Jenn:

I'm like, yeah.

Jenn:

But um, so same thing with the helicopter.

Jenn:

I was like, oh, this is what this does.

Jenn:

And this is, I do the basics of what things did.

Jenn:

But I would ask him, do you want to sit in the cockpit?

Jenn:

And I'm like, sure.

Jenn:

So I would lift him up and put in the cockpit.

Jenn:

And, and I just, then, you know, you have a break, you're allowed to

Jenn:

walk around the air show, go, go, go grab something to eat, you know?

Jenn:

And as I'm walking around this air show, I just remember going, Oh my gosh,

Jenn:

there's no other women pilots here.

Jenn:

And this whole.

Jenn:

air show.

Jenn:

I'm in my flight suit.

Jenn:

I'm the only woman and it dawns on me.

Jenn:

That's why all these little girls are coming over to my helicopter because

Jenn:

it's something they can see, you know, some modeling of what you could be

Jenn:

if you want to be a female aviator.

Jenn:

Um, when I was a young kid and my parents took me to see the Thunderbirds in

Jenn:

Wyoming, uh, when we were stationed at F.

Jenn:

E.

Jenn:

Warren Air Force Base, I don't even remember there being a female pilot.

Jenn:

But I didn't care.

Jenn:

I just wanted to be a pilot and nothing was going to stop me from

Jenn:

doing that, uh, through my career.

Jenn:

There I have had some women who definitely were influencers for me, but it really

Jenn:

was great that, uh, that I had some really great men who championed my career.

Jenn:

And I, one of the things I talk about as, um, a lot is my flight in an F 14.

Jenn:

When I was a midshipman off the USS Eisenhower, only midshipman

Jenn:

who got a hop, uh, in a F 14.

Jenn:

And I was a female at the time.

Jenn:

This is 1998 on the USS Eisenhower in the Mediterranean.

Jenn:

So off the coast of, uh, in Europe.

Jenn:

And uh, I walk into this F 18 squad, F 14 squadron, like

Jenn:

this is the heyday of Top Gun.

Jenn:

F 14 squadron, skull and crossbones on their tail of their F 14.

Jenn:

Jolly Rogers.

Jenn:

Jolly Rogers.

Jenn:

I mean these dudes.

Jenn:

That squadron is actually there at the airshow.

Jenn:

Yeah, these dudes are no joke.

Jenn:

Like, they're the guys.

Jenn:

And um, I walk into their ready room.

Jenn:

So a ready room is a room where you all sit.

Jenn:

sit, you notice it in Top Gun, but they're all sitting in the chairs facing forward

Jenn:

facing like the commanding officer who's ever giving like the brief for the day.

Jenn:

And when your briefs aren't happening, you sit in there and kind of play plan or

Jenn:

listen to the radio or write letters home.

Jenn:

That's like your hangout room.

Jenn:

And so I walked into the room, and I just sat down in a chair, not knowing their

Jenn:

assigned chair, especially the front row.

Jenn:

And I sat right in the front row.

Jenn:

I don't know who shares that in.

Jenn:

And, uh, the CO was there and the CO looked at me and he was like, you know,

Jenn:

and in colorful Navy words, he asked me who I was and I told him I was a

Jenn:

midshipman and I wanted to fly an F 14 and he told me in colorful words to get out.

Jenn:

And I told him no, that this was my dream and I wasn't leaving until I got a flight.

Jenn:

And he started to laugh and he asked me what school I went to because he

Jenn:

said I had a lot of, for a woman.

Jenn:

And I said, I went to Penn State and he said, Big Ten, you're flying.

Jenn:

I got very lucky that day because that commanding officer had gone to Indiana

Jenn:

University, which is in the Big Ten.

Jenn:

And he, uh, he was all for me flying.

Jenn:

So the minute his attitude changed around, and it was a CEO, he's county officer.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Everybody in the squadron's attitude changed around.

Jenn:

I, we started laughing.

Jenn:

He shook my hand.

Jenn:

We went over to the schedule.

Jenn:

We picked a flight together.

Jenn:

He was going to fly at the same time in his jet.

Jenn:

He told me to come back the next day, get fitted for a G suit,

Jenn:

you know, and meet the guys.

Jenn:

And, and I came back the next day and they gave me squadron patches.

Jenn:

They made sure I wore their patches while I flew with them.

Jenn:

I wore, you know, you don't get your own G suit.

Jenn:

So I wore another pilots.

Jenn:

I'm Se you know, similar size to, and we talk about this, a woman pilot being

Jenn:

similar size to a man at the time.

Jenn:

'cause cockpits are built for men.

Jenn:

And, um, I went through like pre-flight stuff, like how do you

Jenn:

learn to do stuff in the back?

Jenn:

'cause you still have to be an effective co-pilot.

Jenn:

Yep.

Jenn:

You're changing radios in the back.

Jenn:

You're doing things in the back.

Jenn:

You have to, and I'd already gone through all the qualifications

Jenn:

to fly in an ejection seat.

Jenn:

Uh, I had done all that as a midshipman in case this was to happen.

Jenn:

on my midshipman cruise.

Jenn:

You go through all these qualifications in case you do get a hop in an F14.

Jenn:

It was very rare, but it could happen.

Jenn:

So they made sure you went to your midshipman cruise prepared

Jenn:

with the qualifications.

Jenn:

And so I had done all of that stuff, but I still needed to learn certain things,

Jenn:

different frequencies and stuff like that.

Jenn:

And, uh, and the day I'm, I'm getting geared up in my G suit, which was it

Jenn:

to even get in that thing is like a workout because it's a, it's a pain to

Jenn:

zip this tight thing around you all the way up to like right under your chest.

Jenn:

Uh, the CO was there getting in his G suit and he put, um, Jolly Ranchers

Jenn:

in my pocket on your shoulder.

Jenn:

And he said, if you start to feel sick, just suck on these, like even

Jenn:

taking care of me to that extreme, uh, which was fantastic because nothing

Jenn:

will prepare you for what a cat shot.

Jenn:

is like in an F 14.

Jenn:

And so we...

Jenn:

And a cat

Scott:

shot for those who are listening is basically the

Scott:

catapulting you off of the aircraft

Jenn:

carrier.

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So my mom was just talking to me today about different countries now are

Jenn:

coming out with their own aircraft carriers with ramps on the front, right?

Jenn:

And a ramp will catapult you up into the sky and you'll hit transitional lift.

Jenn:

You're going to dip, but it gives you some more altitude for that dip.

Jenn:

But the Navy just...

Jenn:

catapult you off.

Scott:

Just shoot you off.

Scott:

There's no ramp.

Scott:

You better hit that, those thrusters fast.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So you just get shot off and, uh, and so nothing prepares

Jenn:

you for what that feels like.

Jenn:

And then I remember he said, are you ready?

Jenn:

And I was like, ready for what?

Jenn:

And he did, like, you see the maneuvers at the, um, the The, the Blue Angels do.

Jenn:

He pulled the straight up, geez, like we went vertical straight up.

Jenn:

Were

Scott:

you, so you were

Jenn:

flying with the CO?

Jenn:

No, I flew with his name, callsign was Rhino.

Jenn:

Okay.

Jenn:

I flew with one of the, he's a lieutenant, which you always are, you're, you're most.

Jenn:

dangerous pilots.

Jenn:

And CO went up in his own jet, probably didn't want to fly with them.

Jenn:

And honestly, he probably didn't want to do a lot of the flying,

Jenn:

probably made someone else fly.

Jenn:

And he just sat in the back.

Jenn:

But um, so I flew with Rhino and we we shot straight up.

Jenn:

That was amazing.

Jenn:

And then he's like, Okay, now watch the speedometer.

Jenn:

And we broke the sound barrier.

Jenn:

And we did some barrel rolls.

Jenn:

And then that's when the CO came up and joined up.

Jenn:

on us.

Jenn:

We form flu.

Jenn:

So again, a lot with the Blue Angels do form flying is.

Jenn:

You do it a lot in the military, uh, it's, it's, I wouldn't say it's, I hate

Jenn:

to say this, it's kind of easy flying.

Jenn:

I know the Blue Angels do it.

Jenn:

It's easy because you know exactly what you have to do.

Jenn:

When you fly form, you fly a sight picture of the other aircraft and

Jenn:

you just tuck yourself into that sight picture and you hold it.

Jenn:

And you never take your eyes off the other aircraft.

Jenn:

You're never looking at your own gauges.

Jenn:

You're never looking away.

Jenn:

You just look at the other aircraft and you fixate on looking and the whole time

Jenn:

you're holding that site picture and you're maneuvering your controls just a

Jenn:

little bit just to keep that site picture.

Jenn:

So if they're.

Jenn:

if they're barrel rolling, if they're flipping around, you really don't know it.

Jenn:

You're doing it with them because you're holding the site picture so

Jenn:

tight that they, which is what the blue angels do when they barrel roll.

Jenn:

You're just going with them because you're holding the site.

Scott:

So when they say, when the announcer says, you know, their

Scott:

wings are only 18 inches apart.

Scott:

That's all they're focusing on is keeping that wing position the same spot 18 inches

Jenn:

apart You have visuals that you hit there's probably for them like they're

Jenn:

probably keeping a wing tip in the V of Navy They're probably keeping and if you

Jenn:

keep this in this picture here in this picture here You know, you're exactly

Jenn:

where you need to be tucked into the aircraft and then when you break away, of

Jenn:

course That's the first time you'll look at your controls in your breakaway But

Jenn:

once you're in form, you're just tight in looking at the other aircraft the entire

Jenn:

And so we, we do that cause you form up in a lot of that you practice because

Jenn:

of refueling because a lot of refueling is kind of like this form flying.

Jenn:

It has to be perfection cause you have to catch the basket with the refueling probe.

Jenn:

So, you know, people were asking, why do you form fly?

Jenn:

Most of the time it's.

Jenn:

It's a refueling practice because you refuel in the air as Navy pilots.

Jenn:

So you were

Scott:

flying with the Jolly Ranchers, and then you got to land back down.

Scott:

Yeah,

Jenn:

so we, it was great.

Jenn:

I mean, it was great.

Jenn:

He played the Indiana fight song.

Jenn:

And I started laughing and, and I mean, Honestly, you see the aircraft

Jenn:

carrier become like, it looks like a postage stamp and then it becomes

Jenn:

like a little dot in the ocean that you don't even see it anymore.

Jenn:

So it's like, you're going to land back on that.

Jenn:

So when you go back for your landing, you know, you always know, like

Jenn:

the, the jet pilot's going to set up for his approach way for out there.

Jenn:

It's going to have, they're going to call the ball, which

Jenn:

is basically lining a ball up.

Jenn:

on a line.

Jenn:

And, uh, the other.

Jenn:

So another thing I know I'm talking aviation.

Jenn:

So if anyone loves aviation talk, that's what this podcast is.

Jenn:

The landing control officers or the landing safety officers, the LSOs are

Jenn:

all the other pilots in the squadron.

Jenn:

That's who's calling your landing.

Jenn:

So you're graded as how good of a pilot you are by how good you land.

Jenn:

So if you think how competitive we all are, we are going to help

Jenn:

you land great, but we don't want you to have a perfect landing.

Jenn:

So we want you to land great, we want to get you safely on the aircraft.

Jenn:

And then as soon as you land, we'll grade your landing.

Jenn:

So it's like, okay, boo, that was great.

Jenn:

Okay, that that was a B.

Jenn:

You know, so it's kind of like, we're going to get you in perfection.

Jenn:

And then as soon as you land, we're going to grade you.

Jenn:

You know, we're not going to give you the best grades.

Jenn:

You have to earn your grades.

Jenn:

Kind of like a gymnast or figure skater.

Jenn:

You have to years and years of doing it.

Jenn:

You might've done that perfectly as a newbie, but you don't

Jenn:

deserve the good grades yet.

Jenn:

Um, so there's four wires that go across an aircraft carrier.

Jenn:

And the tail hook comes down, you can catch any one, but you're

Jenn:

really shooting for wire three.

Jenn:

So wire three is a perfect landing and that's three from the back.

Jenn:

So if you count one, two, three from the rear, it's the third wire.

Jenn:

And then if you miss all four, it's a, it's a wave off because

Jenn:

you're landing at full throttle.

Jenn:

in case you don't hit any of them, you're, you can, you're

Jenn:

full throttle to take off again.

Jenn:

And so we hit, we caught number three and that again, that jolt

Jenn:

of the stop is another thing.

Jenn:

That's just, you don't, no one can prepare you for that.

Jenn:

But anyway, so.

Jenn:

In essence, I flew in an F 14 with the Jolly Rogers, 1998, halfway, you know,

Jenn:

and I got this great experience because of this male, uh, commanding officer

Jenn:

who believed in women in the military.

Jenn:

So I see the Jolly Rogers at the air show that we're at yesterday.

Jenn:

And now they're F 18s.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And you made a beeline

Jenn:

for them.

Jenn:

And I made a And I woke up because I wanted, they're selling t shirts.

Jenn:

So a lot of times what happens at these air shows is squadrons make

Jenn:

their money for Christmas parties and other like hail and farewells

Jenn:

through selling stuff from their squadron, stickers, patches, t shirts.

Jenn:

And so they're always out there doing air shows selling

Jenn:

certain things to the public.

Jenn:

And so I made a beeline to get a t shirt and there was a bunch of

Jenn:

pilots, young guys, lieutenants.

Jenn:

You know, you're probably, what, like twenty eight?

Jenn:

Uh, six?

Jenn:

Seven?

Jenn:

Yeah, like twenty six.

Jenn:

Like, like, young pilots, right?

Jenn:

Usually you're, you're most hotshot pilots.

Jenn:

And I tell them my whole story, and I felt like, you came in, you're like, I'm

Jenn:

gonna go sit over here with the kids and eat, and I felt like, after our words, I'm

Jenn:

like, was I like the old lady telling you?

Scott:

It's very possible.

Jenn:

Cause that's like, for them, it's 25 years ago.

Jenn:

Probably before some of them were born.

Jenn:

It's highly likely.

Jenn:

So we're like this old lady's coming in talking about F14s, but they were nice.

Jenn:

I bought a t shirt from them.

Jenn:

So that's, so that's cool.

Jenn:

Like what you're going to get.

Jenn:

at air shows is you're going to get the veterans, you're going to get the

Jenn:

people who had done it before come in and tell their, their, you know,

Jenn:

their sea stories, their air stories.

Jenn:

And I always enjoyed that too, as a young pilot.

Jenn:

So celebrating 50 years of aviation, it was women in aviation, women in aviation.

Jenn:

So in 1973, they had the first group of eight women start flight

Jenn:

school, Navy flight school.

Jenn:

And, uh, in 1974, so a year later, they had six of them earn their wings of gold.

Jenn:

So that's what they call the 50 years of women in aviation.

Jenn:

And then they're celebrating like Amanda Lee being a blue angel.

Jenn:

And they have other firsts as well that they had celebrated the first

Jenn:

commander of a, uh, you know, F 18 squadron earlier at the there.

Jenn:

So they had done a lot of these women first.

Jenn:

Um, and I think it kind of sent us along the Superbowl had that women fly over.

Jenn:

So, right.

Jenn:

So there, so there is a lot of this.

Jenn:

Women in aviation celebration that's happening this year so that the air

Jenn:

show kind of celebrated that but It was great for the kids because they had set

Jenn:

up in some hangers a lot of like stem Experiments that they could play with

Scott:

yeah And I I would assume right for if for those listening if you

Scott:

never brought Family to an air show it that's one of the great things

Scott:

to To really bring your family to because it's typically these are kind

Scott:

of, you know, Navy, military kind of, you know, their face to the public.

Scott:

It's not just them out there kind of doing the show.

Scott:

It's a little bit of recruiting, but it's also, it doesn't feel

Scott:

like a big recruiting event.

Scott:

I mean, they have the obvious kind of recruiter spots out there with the Marines

Scott:

and their pull up bar and all that stuff.

Scott:

And, um, but it really was opportunities for the kids to just get out there

Scott:

and see all the cool things that.

Scott:

are throughout the D.

Scott:

O.

Scott:

D.

Scott:

and the military

Jenn:

and NASA.

Jenn:

And then even the performers, they had like the leapfrogs.

Jenn:

So they had the Navy SEALs parachute in and they had

Jenn:

civilian and military performers.

Jenn:

They had like this Red Bull.

Jenn:

Helicopter that kept doing like loop de loops and I'm like,

Scott:

I've never seen that.

Scott:

I've never seen a helicopter do a loop de loop because I honestly

Scott:

didn't know it was possible.

Scott:

And then I saw it do one and I, you were in like one of the helicopters

Scott:

with the kids or something like that.

Scott:

I was like, Jen, that helicopter just did a loop de loop.

Scott:

I didn't, I'm not sure what I'm looking at, at

Jenn:

here.

Jenn:

Because that was always my party joke, right?

Jenn:

Because people are, I would ask me, can a helicopter go inverted?

Jenn:

And I always would say once.

Jenn:

You're right.

Scott:

You always say, say once it really was pretty incredible and

Scott:

we'll bring it back around to kind of some of the history, but some

Scott:

of the aircraft that were there, they had error, you know, acrobatic

Scott:

national champion flyers and the F 22 Raptor, which absolutely blew my mind.

Scott:

It just.

Scott:

It seems like it's defying physics and the law of gravity.

Scott:

It's, it's really pretty incredible.

Scott:

Now, one of the things that they actually called out while we were there, one of

Scott:

the announcers said when the blue angels started flying was that the blue angels

Scott:

had actually started performing in like the 1940s and I thought that was actually.

Scott:

Um, I was, I was surprised, but I mean, like, like we said,

Scott:

they started flying planes.

Scott:

Everybody started wanting

Jenn:

to see it.

Jenn:

So they're the second oldest demonstration squadron in the

Jenn:

world behind one in France.

Jenn:

So they started flying in 1946.

Jenn:

And in France, it was a couple years earlier.

Jenn:

So they have been around since 1946.

Jenn:

I just,

Scott:

I, I never realized that cause you and I, we've seen the

Scott:

blue angels a ton of times, right?

Scott:

You in flight school, you know, me, you know, when I was in college,

Scott:

they would practice, you know, over, over my school all the time.

Scott:

Um, But it was just really neat.

Scott:

And then obviously seeing the Blue Angels kind of cap off the whole

Scott:

air show was just fun because the kids had never seen it before.

Scott:

And they really pull out all the stops.

Scott:

They do all the high speed passes and they're playing the music and they've

Scott:

got, you know, it's very choreographed.

Scott:

It's very choreographed.

Scott:

Um, It was

Jenn:

neat.

Jenn:

So there's six aircraft total.

Jenn:

There's four that'll stay in the diamond formation, and they

Jenn:

pretty much do formation flight.

Jenn:

And then there's two solo, there's a, a lead solo and a secondary Solo.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Five, no, five and six.

Jenn:

Five and six.

Jenn:

And they do a lot of the, the passes, the high speed passes, and they will

Jenn:

form up with the, the diamond formation and do like a six, a man formation.

Jenn:

But, uh, most of the time they're doing all the, the crazy flying and, uh, it's,

Jenn:

uh, six Navy personnel, one Marine.

Jenn:

Uh, for the Blue Angels.

Jenn:

And so they kind of, uh, they, one Marine will always be flying as

Jenn:

part of the demonstration crew.

Jenn:

Um, and the Thunderbirds are kind of like the Air Force equivalent.

Jenn:

They've been around since 1953 and I, I had seen them as a young kid.

Jenn:

But if you ever go to an air show, you know, we recommend get there early.

Jenn:

Because it gets very crowded and busy and if you have an opportunity like this

Jenn:

air show sold tickets where you could get seating that was closer where you

Jenn:

didn't have to bring your chair because you The air shows are usually free and

Jenn:

you can bring your chair So you could go to an air show completely for free

Jenn:

and just enjoy the day or even if you live close to where they're performing,

Jenn:

you could probably watch it from your

Scott:

house.

Scott:

And you didn't have to have a military ID to get on base.

Scott:

They actually opened it up to the public, which I didn't realize.

Scott:

Um, you know, the only thing was that they were basically just kind of checking

Scott:

bags and stuff just before you got on the

Jenn:

flight line.

Jenn:

Yeah, so it was great.

Jenn:

But if you didn't want to carry your chair and you could pay for tickets like we did

Jenn:

on the flight line, and if you wanted to pay a little bit more, you get bleachers.

Jenn:

And if you wanted to pay like a little bit more, you could pay for preferred parking,

Jenn:

or else you're going to walk like we did.

Jenn:

Be prepared to walk at an air show anyway because you're going to be

Jenn:

walking the basically the tarmac.

Jenn:

You're walking the flight line and to the different booths, to the different

Jenn:

food, to the different static aircraft, and then over to the demonstration area.

Jenn:

It's, it was, it's a significant walk.

Jenn:

So I would just be prepared.

Jenn:

If you're going to go to an air show, be prepared to

Scott:

be there all day.

Scott:

Yeah, but it, it, it really was fun.

Scott:

We spent the whole day there and some of that history of, of aviation.

Scott:

I just never knew until we got there and really until we kind of started

Scott:

talking about it tonight here on the talk with history podcast.

Scott:

So if you guys have ever been to.

Scott:

An air show.

Scott:

I would love to hear about it.

Scott:

Shoot us an email.

Scott:

Um, you can find us our, our email over at talkwithhistory.

Scott:

com.

Scott:

Um, reach out to us, let us know if you ever have had kind of an air show

Scott:

experience, because if there's one thing that I've learned about pilots

Scott:

or people that are fan of aviation is they love to talk about aviation.

Scott:

and their aviation stories, just like my co host here did

Jenn:

tonight.

Jenn:

Yes, and I apologize.

Jenn:

We actually had someone on Instagram say, I didn't even know you were a pilot,

Jenn:

and I find that really hard to believe.

Jenn:

Now you're

Scott:

just going to send them this podcast episode every

Jenn:

single time.

Jenn:

I just wanted to say one more time before we leave that the Blue

Jenn:

Angels perform, um, annually for about 15 million spectators a year.

Jenn:

The Thunderbirds perform for about 12 million spectators a year.

Jenn:

So If you can imagine all those people going to see, uh, these jets perform, I'm

Jenn:

sure someone has a good story out there.

Scott:

Yeah, we would love to hear it.

Scott:

And if you can kind of write us a little email or send us a little note,

Scott:

um, or even if you look in the show notes, there's actually a way, there's

Scott:

a link in there, it's pod inbox.

Scott:

Um, dot com slash history.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

You can actually leave us an audio kind of message.

Scott:

And I think if you keep it under 30 seconds, we might be able to play it.

Scott:

So if anybody's listening and you're interested in telling

Scott:

us a story and maybe we can, we can get it on here, the podcast.

Scott:

So thank you for listening to the talk with your podcast and please

Scott:

reach out to us at our website.

Scott:

TalkWithHistory.

Scott:

com.

Scott:

But more importantly, if you know someone else that is an aviation fan or

Scott:

a pilot that has another story to tell, please share this episode with them,

Scott:

especially if you think that today's topic would interest a friend, shoot

Scott:

them a text and tell them to look us up.

Scott:

We rely on you, our community to grow and we appreciate you all every day.

Scott:

We'll talk to you next time.

Scott:

Thank you.

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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Thank you for the great podcasts and for sharing your passion! Love hearing about the locations you visit.