Long Weekend and the Daytona 500

I was today years old when I learned that airplanes can reverse.

Every February, the Daytona 500 happens and there’s a massive crowd rushing in for race weekend. I’ve never been a fan of the races, but I do like airplanes. And each year when the race crowds come in, so do the Thunderbirds!

It’s President’s Day weekend, which means a long weekend. Friday afternoon got off to a good start- the Thunderbirds were supposed to arrive, but they ran into a few difficulties. However, one C-17 arrived, and the Aviation Maintenance Science balcony was full of students.

It was three hours late (or maybe my friends and I were three hours early!), which meant that I could do a little homework on the tables on the balcony. I ended up working ahead in a nice shady spot, taking a few breaks to watch the daily Delta and American flights take off and land. They come and go every few hours, so I saw a few of them.

The C-17 arrived around sunset, which led to this pretty picture:

The C-17 lands on 25R here at KDAB.

At the time, rumors were circulating on if the Thunderbirds were arriving on Friday or Saturday. Most people decided to stick around for another hour or so, including me. Everyone on the balcony watched the C-17 as it ended up reversing onto a taxiway, which is something that I had never seen before. It was super cool- you could see the waves from the engine as it slowly reversed back onto a taxiway.

Well, on Friday I learned that airplanes could reverse. You learn something new every day, right?

The Thunderbirds ended up showing on Saturday at 2:30. Chris and I went to watch them arrive, and they ended up doing a loop around before actually landing.

Since it was a weekend, the Aviation Maintenance Science building was locked and the balcony was inaccessible. Chris and I had been tracking the Thunderbirds on FlightRadar24 to ensure that they were actually coming to Daytona, and indeed, they were. Luckily, Chris and I both have cars so we found a spot along the runway and ended up parking there. We’d timed it just right so that we didn’t have to wait too long.

Thunderbird flyover!

However, the Daytona 500 (and Thunderbird mini-airshow) didn’t actually start until Sunday at 3. So after we watched them land, Chris and I hung out for a bit before going our separate ways. I ended up working on some of my Solid Mechanics homework, where we’re learning about torsion. I find it interesting since it’s a concept that can also be applied to engineering structures.

Sunday was fun. Chris picked me up and we went Thunderbird-watching at a pretty spot across from campus. Every year, the Thunderbirds fly over the Daytona 500 stadium when the national anthem is sung. After that, they’ll circle around a few times before landing.

The Thunderbirds took off from 7L, which was the opposite end that we were on. It wasn’t instantaneous; we ended up waiting around for almost half of an hour before they came back. I liked our spot- they ended up flying almost directly over us when the race started. After that, we watched them fly off into the distance before they came back several minutes later. That was pretty epic- they were landing on 25R, which was the end of the runway we were on.

The Thunderbirds ended up flying over the runway and then went around and into the traffic pattern one by one. All six of them landed about twenty minutes later right in front of us, which was pretty epic to watch. And boy, were they loud.

Me and Chris! The picture was taken after the Thunderbirds had taken off and we were waiting for them to come back.

Overall, it was definitely a well-deserved and fun long weekend. I did a bunch of homework for the week, did one round of Carpool Karaoke on Saturday night, and went to a birthday party on Sunday night. Monday was super quiet- I didn’t do much besides homework and hang out with my friends.

Classes resume on February 22, 2022- which is a Tuesday (or maybe we should call it a 2s Day!). It’ll be good to get back to my classes on a shorter week. I had two exams last week and have two more this week, so the President’s Day weekend was a good time to study while also taking time to myself. It’s important to have a good school-life balance.

I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

One of the Thunderbirds landing on 25R… right in front of ERAU!

This entry was posted in 2021-2022 and tagged , , , , by Carly. Bookmark the permalink.

About Carly

Major: Aerospace Engineering
Minor: Applied Mathematics
Hometown:Berea, Kentucky
Campus Involvement: Honors Program mentor, Women's Ambassador, O-Team, Society of Women Engineers, Theta Phi Alpha sorority
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: I chose Embry-Riddle because I fell in love with the campus the moment I saw it through a plane window. The campus tour was amazing, and the campus seemed like a place I'd want to call home for the next few years.

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