Also known as the yearly free Thunderbirds airshow.
Just like last year, the
Thunderbirds hosted their annual free airshow Daytona 500 happened. And you can watch it here.
As always, the week didn’t start with a free airshow.
The week started much earlier with a C-17 flying in and then promptly leaving before another one flew in. Every year ERAU’s flight department gets the schedule for all of the military aircraft coming in, and the flight students spread it around so aviation enthusiasts like myself can join in the fun of watching them.
Every time I see a C-17 I’m reminded of how massive they are. For their size (in my non-professional opinion) they’re very agile and can do things I wouldn’t expect out of an aircraft like it. I’ve watched the C-17 and Thunderbirds for three years now, and every year, Riddle students show up. I’ve even heard of a few people missing class to watch.
The majority of the Thunderbirds arrived on Thursday and as usual, there were plenty of Embry-Riddle students on top of the aircraft maintenance science (AMS) building balcony watching them fly in. There were two that arrived early doing media flights, also on Thursday but in the morning. This year I also noticed people on top of the parking garage, which is new this year and another great alternative for when the AMS balcony is closed.
The actual Daytona 500 event was on Sunday, but the Thunderbirds practiced on Friday and Saturday mornings. I watched the takeoffs on Friday morning before I headed to my first class, Aerospace Structures I. Interestingly enough, we did a homework problem earlier in the year about a fighter aircraft in a loop.
I, unfortunately, didn’t get to watch the Saturday morning practice since I was too busy sleeping in. I’d decided that sleeping until 11:30 AM sounded like a better option than watching the Thunderbirds take off again, knowing I’d be watching the flyover on Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, I caught up on my homework.
Sunday was the flyover, so I made sure to block time out for that. It started a little before 3 PM, with the Thunderbirds making their first pass while the national anthem played. They flew over the stadium a few more times before they finished with the delta burst (the first clip in the video, not the last- somehow the clips got out of order when I used iMovie to put them together).
Monday was President’s Day, which was quiet both figuratively and literally. No F-16 noises were heard all day, and I only did one homework assignment. I ended up going ice skating with a couple of my friends- and yes, Daytona has an ice rink! ERAU has an ice hockey team and they play at the rink.
Overall, this weekend was really fun and uniquely ERAU. I can’t think of another school where people will come together and watch aircraft fly in while staying on campus. I’ve watched the Thunderbirds and C-17s that come in every year and I’ll do it until I graduate and leave the area. Until then, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!