kay, model railroading has brought me a lot of things. It brought me together with my dad (which, besides reading and old movies, was pretty much all we had). It brought me Orlando N-Trak Club, to which I’ve been a member for thirty-five years. It’s brought me some close friends (and, well, some interesting people). And it’s gotten me into some interesting operational layouts, from La Mesa in San Diego to Steve King’s old Chicago layout to massive weekend sessions in St Paul, Asheville, and Atlanta. And it’s got me as a fixture in various railroads across the state: The VSW, the WVN, the FEC, the P&WV and the WB. And the WAZU. The latter one clearly paid off today.
With ringing ears and a sunburn fit to put me in the burn ward.
But Doc Andy Michaud, who hosts ops sessions on his home (rather, clinic) railroad suddenly presented his group (and the club in general) with VIP passes to the Orlando Air Show. Sixteen of them (and given their flight-line, free food and open bar, this was no small gift). This gave us passes for four cars to travel up to Sanford, find our seats (though most huddled in the shade) and then watch the planes do their stuff.
So, the good – the Thunderbirds, of course. And numerous stunt planes that did extraordinary things. A P-51. A Corsair. A Mig-17 (parked). The C-5 (a big cargo plane where people (including our host) would stand in line for two hours to see the inside of a big metal tubes with lots of dials in the front). The flight demos by the F-18 and F-35 were amazing – they could really whip the planes around on a literal dime. Just many examples of aircraft control and capability.
Since I always need to add a “but”, here it is. I haven’t been to an airshow in twenty years. This one seemed to have long delays between each act (some of that was because Sanford still had to fly jetliners in and out). But some of that just seemed to be bad timing. You’d think they’d have the next act at the end of the active, ready to roll once the last one cleared. No. They relied on trying to “entertain” the crowd with loud music and pointless interviews (all the way down to the crew chiefs). I mean really? And I’ve come there to hear the engines as the planes scream past, not pop music, Superman themes and Top Gun. Really, my life does not need a soundtrack.
But bitching aside, we had a great show, thanks to Doc Andy, our host. At the bottom of this blog (right after the desperate book pitch) you will find the link to Doc’s Vet Clinic. Check him out for all your animal/companion needs.