June 24th, 2008

Thunderbird 1

Air Show Week!

The air show is coming this weekend, and the skies over Quonset Point have begun to fill with the sounds of planes practicing aerobatics. (Actually, the first pair of planes was already up practicing last Friday.) For the first time in many years, neither the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds are doing the show. Instead we get the Red Arrows, the RAF equivalent. Like the Canadian Snowbirds, the Arrows fly training aircraft, which lack the sheer power of the American teams, but they fly more of them (9 instead of 6) which makes for more variety in the formations they can fly.

They flew in yesterday, but the weather prevented any practicing, but the sky's pretty clear today, so perhaps I'll have something to watch at lunch.


I went down to my usual spot next to the airport to have lunch. I'd been hoping to catch some air show previews, but the clouds had moved in and the skies had started to drip, so I settled for just eating my lunch and reading. I did catch sight of the Red Arrow aircraft parked at the RI ANG facility, along with their C-17 support plane.

Then a thunderstorm moved in, with thunder and lightning and huge gobbets of water falling from the sky. The wide-openness of the airport made for a perfect view of the proceedings, one that I was quite enjoying. That is until the hail started falling. Tiny pebbles, at first, rattling off the roof and sides of the truck. Two different rattles, actually, as the ones that hit the fiberglass bed lid made a different sound than the ones that hit metal. As the storm intensified, visibility dropped to almost nothing, and the chunks of ice got bigger. Eventually the proverbial golf ball-sized stones started hitting the truck. I don't recall ever seeing hail that big before. That was about the time I decided to go see it I could find some top cover to park the truck under before one came through the windshield. I spent the rest of my lunch parked in a grove of trees.

And it occurs to me that I left many of my windows open at home. D'oh!