The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? – it is the same the angels breathe. ~Mark Twain
This past weekend was the Westmoreland County Airshow at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, in Latrobe. Much like last year, Flying Back to Kyle’s Ninth Birthday, it was a beautiful day. A little hot, nearly in the 90’s and very sunny, but it was the airshow, perfect weather to be watching the skies. I took Kyle on Saturday, both of us really wanting to go this year because the Blue Angels were performing. When I was younger they had the airshow every year, keep in mind it was always in September, usually over Ryan’s birthday, and the Blue Angels always made their appearance. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Blue Angels, but they were always something to watch. As an adult, I’m still equally as impressed and mesmerized as I was as a kid.
Sometimes mom and dad took us into the airport for the airshow and sometimes we would just watch it from mom and dad’s front porch. You see, their house sits up on the ridge with an amazing view overlooking Saint Vincent Church and College and the airport. When the planes did their stunts they executed them right in front of us in the open sky overlooking the airport. It was a sight to see! Since the airshow was over Ryan’s birthday weekend, all my cousins were up at the house anyway for the party. That gave us show to look forward to, too.
The 2012 airshow was very organized with respect to getting people into the airport, although I’m not commenting on their system for getting the crowds out all at once. They changed the layout this year from last, which made it more open and easier to get from one end of the lot to the opposite. As Kyle and I walked around to check out the booths, he naturally eyed up those containing toys, the typical toy planes of various sizes. Kyle asked if he could have a “souvenir”, one of his famous lines. I have don’t have an issue with purchasing the kid a T-shirt, hat or something neat to use as a keep sake, but in my opinion Kyle is getting too old to keep purchasing these toys, which have his attention for the day before being lost to the bottom of his closet forever. Every time we took him to the Air and Space Museums in Virginia and Washington, D.C. he would get another toy plane, never to be seen again. Using this as my opportunity to prove a point, I said to Kyle, “You can get whatever you want.” as he looked at me in complete shock. Then I continued, “It’s your money.” He said, “What money?” and I followed up with, “Your money from your report card.” Kyle looked over some items and then said, “No I’m good. I don’t really want anything.” I knew he had other plans for that money, but that was his choice.
Continuing on our way, we saw the Navy had a simulator to ride. Kyle really wanted to participate before the airshow began, so we stood in line. It was an enclosed area with a screen and a simulated mission playing on the monitor. The capsule was on hydraulics and bounced you around simultaneously with the visual being played, kind of like a Universal Studio ride. Before we boarded, Kyle and I both commented that it was like the simulator they have at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., only that one flipped you upside down. The ride required one driver, which was me and one co-pilot to shoot missiles, which was Kyle. Well, needless to say, I managed to keep us upside down the entire ride because I couldn’t get us turned right side up. That was years ago and it must have made an impression on Kyle because the first think he said was, “Ya Aunt Heather this is just like that ride at the Air and Space Museum, except it doesn’t go upside down.”
Before boarding our ride the airshow started with a plane making a smiley face in the sky. That got every clapping and cheering. Once we exited the simulator, which was very cool, Kyle decided he was hungry. After making our way through the line to get his BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich, courtesy of DeNunzio’s Restaurant, we made our way to sit and watch the show.
Eventually we found our way to the grassy area on the hill where we could see the entire runway. Kyle and I sat under my golf umbrella to get some relief from the scorching sun. In fact, we stayed under the umbrella the entire day, even while walking around. It was cooler and neither one of us got a sunburn. While resting under our little piece of shade, planes were flying around doing stunts and fly bys, taking off and landing. They even had a car with a jet engine racing a plane. The agenda was well planned out and executed very smoothly.
It’s really exciting and a rush to hear the roar of the engines and see of the aeronautics overhead. Well, maybe it wasn’t enough for Kyle because I kept catching him playing on his Nintendo DS. Yikes! What? He got a new game, and holding true to his fashion he was obsessed with beating it. I didn’t mind him playing it between acts and I had him bring it in anticipation of the traffic, but during the show, heck NO!
Then at 3:00, came the much anticipated highlight of the day, The Blue Angels! I was too excited to see this, although Kyle didn’t seem to share in my enthusiasm. I understand the super sonic sounds being projected from the engines made his ears hurt, but I could tell he would much rather sit there and play his video games than appreciate true skill and the hard work it takes to be a U.S. Navy Blue Angel. To me that was kind of a shame. I’m sure there are other kids who follow Kyle’s suit.
While watching and video taping the show, my phone stopped me from taking the remainder of the shots. It was full! What? Bad timing! Then I remembered Mr. Kyle Piper had his new 64GB ipod Touch with him. I said, “Kyle quick, give me your ipod.” That smart little bugger said, “Did you fill up your phone?” What? How did he know that?
After the show, Kyle and I managed to sneak in line and get an autograph of Blue Angel Pilot, #8 LCDR Todd Ryles, USN. Later I found out that is a native to Pennsylvania and went to Penn State. After he singed our brochure, I grabbed a picture with the pilot and Kyle. I understand it was a long hot day and we had to head out to go Jimmy Singer’s graduation party at the Planinsek Pavilion, but could have been a little more thrilled. If I know Kyle, we was probably looking forward to sitting in the car and playing that game! Although, I’ll give him credit, he didn’t complain.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that a friend of mine has always wanted to see the Blue Angels. To me this was silly, I’ve seen them many times. Then it dawned on me that I have taken advantage of this fact. I tried to explain to Kyle that this was a privilege to see them and we had great seats in the grass, not missing a thing. That little lecture didn’t seem to effect him. Ahh, one day I hope he reflects back and appreciates this opportunity because they were AMAZING!
To see more videos on the Blue Angels go to Aunt Heather Piper Youtube Channel