The idle gained momentum and I cracked my eye open, taking in our nose-high attitude and how far the ground seemed from our reclined perch. The grass started moving underneath the wings in front of me. Beyond the struts and wires holding the wings together, I could see the ailerons moving.
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.