A pinprick comes directly at us at high speed. Two seconds later we realize that it's the F-22 Raptor, and there is Silence! It's sound hasn't reached us yet. Now the pilot turns the plane upward, pointing directly at the sky. As it rises straight up, the blast of sound hits us. He rises, and rises, and hundreds of thousands of us sit in disbelief. He is totally vertical, and he is slowing down. As he reaches the pinnacle, he turns ever so slowly, and meanders his way straight down toward the Atlantic Ocean. The sky is clear blue and he is stunning against it.
He banks left, traveling west, and rides on his side. The machine is so beautiful and graceful! And the speed - it's unbelievable! He is doing things that nobody can believe unless they are actually watching!
He flies upside down - fast! The sounds are following the aircraft and they are mind-boogling, just as the visuals are mind boggling!
The P-51 appears and flies tight next to his wing. They move as one unit.
Our heads are straining as they are craning, but we cannot bring them down to rest. 65,000 pounds of design, test, manufacture and superb flying are above us and we cannot miss a single flip of the tail.
He rises and rises again, and then he FLOATS down. Can this be happening?
The aerobatic pilots are awesome as well. While they are not flying Raptors, the beauty of their flying and precision leave the crowds breathless. A father and son fly 2 planes, side by side, and we can barely see the air between their wings - they are THAT CLOSE. They rise, pause, nearly stall, and spin down toward the water, only to revive themselves at the last possible moment,
Black and Gold - the precision parchuters leap from the aircraft and float in the sky. The chutes open, and plumes of colored smoke follow the men float down. They land on a miniscule black circle, lost in a sea of people on the Jones Beach shoreline.
The sky clears. Silence. From the east comes a plane. No wait. It's not a plane. It's SIX PLANES. They are so close together that they appear to be one craft, until they are close enough, and we Earthlings realize that we are witnessing superb precision. They bank as one and fly past, and like the Raptor before them, the blast from the Hornets reaches us a few moments later.
The Blue Angels are aptly named. Every angle that the sun hits them is beautiful. Every action is perfect - every move thrilling.
Two separate off. Where are the other four? We don't know. But the two are returning from opposite ends of the sky along the beach. From the west and east they follow the Jones Beach shore. They are going to meet directly in front of my eyes. The jetstreams meet and the smooth line that followed each of them melds with the other to form a bursting cloud. How did they miss each other? We could not see any air between them.
They disappear at opposite ends of the sky. The other four approach from the north behind us. Four - one. It is difficult to discern. Again perfect. Their jetstreams follow them and fill the sky. They separate into their Delta formation, moving in 4 different directions, and their jetstreams burst apart. Again beauty.
I realize that I am so proud, and I wonder why. I have done nothing. It hits me. I am simply proud to be Human. To see such accomplishments. To honor the efforts from the initial ideas that bubbled in someone's mind, to the dedication of all of the pilots that honored us with this demonstration of extreme talent. But no, it is far more than talent. It is work, practice, mistakes and corrections. That is what hundreds of thousand of people have ultimately come to see. It is the knowledge that such things exist, and the deep appreciation that they do. The ultimate in science, engineering, and comeraderie. The product of the efforts of many minds striving to achieve spectacular goals.
From the engineers to the pilots, the message was simple and clear: "This is what can be done."