That fall, father and daughter started talking and saying to each other that it would be fun to just get a plane that they could wrench themselves around in. With Caroline's desire motivating her father, that was all it took for Paul to go ahead and start looking for a new plane. He could see that she was really into it, and it helped that “She could talk me into almost anything, unfortunately”
It was doing the best you could with the team, to see all the smiling faces, everyone was looking at you. It was the little things that occur that you never thought of before. So, my first year as part of the Synchro Pair which was 1999, I had never displayed to the public before. My first cross and as we crossed there was an explosion of light from the crowd side which was basically 50,000 flashes going off at the same time, because they all try and get the photo and it was [a remarkable thing] which I had never seen or expected. And then you see everyone smiling and happy to see you and when you taxi back, they’re all waving, it’s nice.
I grew up going to airshows and flying a lot; that's what triggered my passion and when I see little kids at an airshow...[my wife] Teresa and I, we were watching the F-22 yesterday, there was a young kid, a boy, probably four years old, with his dad and just watching them watch the jet and watching the fascination on his face...I like being a part of that…..
SSgt Betty Chevalier: My most noteable interaction I had with a fan was actually very emotional. During our demonstration, I was taking photos near the back of the crowd. As we started the Heritage Flight, a gentleman walked over to me with tears streaming down his face and all he wanted to do was thank me and the team for bringing the A-10 to the show. He had served overseas and the A-10 was one of the reasons he came home from combat. Just to see the Hawg fly was everything to him. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
My own story with RIAT can be traced back to 1993 when my father won camping and show tickets for weekend. We had only been to two shows previously and far more locally in Wales, but this would set the precedent for the rest of my life, and one I have always been grateful for. IAT 93’ is ever etched in my mind as spectacular but tragic at the same time. This year would see the arrival of Russian Air Force hardware the likes of the West had never seen.
One by one, I come across those photographic treasures. Each one evokes a unique emotion and transports me back though time, to that place, and that moment. I begin going through the photos like a librarian would go through a card catalog... flipping past a dozen… pulling one out… flipping past another… pulling one out.