After a 17 year hiatus, the "Wings Over Homestead" Air Show put on quite a show. As a resident of Palmetto Bay, it was a short drive south to Homestead Air Force Base where around 75,000 gathered for the first day of the event.
My 7-year old and another family we traveled with found the free show to be very entertaining. We were able to walk on the tarmac and enter a C-130 transport plane. Inside, the active crew showed us all the features of the plane and allowed kids to wear real 36-pound parachute packs. We were also able to sit in the cockpit.
Ever want to see what the inside of the B-52 bomber payload bay looks like? We stood inside and took pictures. We also wandered around to see experimental craft, helicopters, and even bounce houses with aeronautical themes.
The entire day was peppered with various fly-bys and air shows from vintage to current aircraft. The sight and sounds excited all.
However, the centerpiece of the day was the Thunderbirds. Beginning at around 3:30PM, the six plane team screamed into the air and never let up for an hour. It was quite a show!
Maj. Sean Gustafson, a former reservist at the Homestead base who lived in Palmetto Bay, returned to fly the No. 4 aircraft in the Thunderbirds' diamond formation. "The diamond demonstrates the precision of the Air Force,'' said Gustafson, the first Air Force Reserve pilot chosen to fly with the Thunderbirds since the team's inception in 1953.
My personal favorite was watching two different F-16 climb from about 100 feet straight up to THREE MILES in just about 15 seconds. If you want to feel power, there is no better way.
The show continues on Sunday and I highly recommend it for anyone. Please note, there is a good bit of walking required to get to and from the flight line.