Sunday, June 04, 2006

Deja Rendezvous

Air Rendezvous 2006 will be over three weeks from now and I’m beginning to wonder if anyone will notice it was even here. There really isn’t much going on this year to draw a crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Air Rendezvous, go every year, and will go this year. But there's no “big name” headline act this year like the Air Force Thunderbirds or Navy Blue Angels (who were in the Quad Cities this weekend). Most of the acts that are going to be here are the same ones that appear nearly every year.

But wait! There is something new and perhaps this will be the motivation for thongs to come out to Abe Field: A dodgeball tournament (go here, scroll down). Yup, what air show would be complete without dodgeball. Interested? Get your registration form here (pdf).

Silly me, I used to wonder what the jet-powered truck that shows up every year had to do with an air show, but now it seems entirely relevant compared to dodgeball.

And while I’m doing some petty bitching, can I ask why the Air Force isn’t doing Stealth fly-overs anymore. During the 1990s you couldn’t go to an air show without being buzzed by either a Stealth Fighter (F-117A) or a Stealth Bomber (B-2). And please, no jokes about how they are there, we just can’t see them. I have to assume this is an Air Force decision because I can’t imagine the organizers of air shows not making every effort to get one of these coolest-of-all-planes to make an appearance. That is, if they aren’t busy organizing dodgeball games.

Update: Read Job Conger’s thoughts in Comments. All of what he says is true. Let me be clear, I still love the Rendezvous and will go every year until the only thing left is the dodgeball. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the air show itself, this year or any otehr year (but I reserve the right to make fun of dodgeball competitions).

I’m just saying there is nothing new or big that might draw larger crowds this year. And that may not be a big deal at this point. People, like me, who love air shows, are going to go whether or not the Blue Angels are there. I know you can’t get the big name acts every year and the organizers do a great job. Besides, I have a nearly three-year-old in whom I’m trying to instill a love of aviation, and you bet I’m taking him. He’ll learn to love airplanes, dammit, or there will be a severe grounding in his future.

1 comment:

Job Conger said...

I've always believed that as long as they spell your name right, there's no such thing as bad publicity. But I'm starting to change my mind after reading your Springfield Air Rendezvous post.

As a fellow who likes airplanes, I find there is PLENTY to like about this year's event. The US Jet Team -- crazee name for a group that flies airplanes that were built in France, but a good team anyway -- makes a heckovalot of noise when they fly, and their flying, though slower than the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels still is well coordinated and better than most civil teams flying today. The Red Stars, a formation of about 16 ex-Soviet and Chinese training planes will impress you by virtue of their numbers. When was the last time YOU saw 16 airplanes flying in tight formation above your home town; World War II? They flew last year, and it's great to have them back. The Lima Lima team from northern Illinois are "in the bag" sure bets for excellent flying, well-timed aerobatics and impressive opposing passes. These guys are pros, and it shows. Dan Buchanan is a paraplegic who flies a hang glider at air shows. If that seems ho-hum, it must be because you think any old fellow paralyzed below the waist can fly aerobatics in a hang glider; right?

I don't mean for my rant to ruffle any one's feathers, but if you will attend this year's Springfield Air Rendezvous, I will wager you will be glad you do. To learn more about the show, visit my web site --

BTW, I like your blog; bookmarked it, and look forward to visiting often.