As I said earlier, the much-anticipated air show was, more than anything, COLD!! Although it’s probably less than a quarter of a mile from our house as the crow (or magpie) flies, we didn’t get to access it that way. We walked out of our neighborhood and through a narrow strip of forest, emerging on the access road to the air field; headed left for a few hundred yards, then doubled back for more than that before cutting across the wide, grassy parking area of the day. Then we got to join all the people who had driven to the show, walking around–not through–the flight area. In all, this little magpie-hop was about 1-1/2 miles long.
The good news: walking helped keep us warm, at least until we reached our destination! Who would have thought that it would be in the low 40s, windy, and raining off and on, for a June 3 event? At least we had prepared for it, dressing in layers (and wearing all of them), and taking makeshift sit-upons like Julie made as a Girl Scout. Ours were just plastic shopping bags stuffed with newspapers, to give us a neutral seat on the cold, wet ground.
“What is so rare as a day in June?” Well, warmth was certainly rare. According the the newspaper, people turned out in record numbers for the event. But since there were no tickets, getting an accurate count was a challenge. People were free to come and go at will, and might very well have taken advantage of that to warm up. We lasted from 9:30 till 11, and then came back home for a hot cup of köttsoppa (meat soup). I will say that we were surprised by the size of the crowd behind us when we stood to go, and more were arriving at 11 than were leaving. The sun came out in the afternoon, and it warmed up several degrees, but by then we had opted for a nap!
The morning portion of the air show was agonizingly slow-paced, with long gaps between demonstrations. There were a couple of “talking heads” providing background chatter… I’m guessing it was Saab’s media relations person and a local news celebrity…but we couldn’t see them, and since they had the audacity to speak Swedish (!) we couldn’t really hear them, either (although occasionally I would hear “sjuttiofem år” (75 years, pron. ‘whew-ti-fem or’). We had gotten good viewing spots, right up front by the crowd-control rope, so there wasn’t even a lot of people-watching to do, just watch the old planes
At 10:45 we doubted if there would be any more flights before the 11 AM mid-day
break, but just as we stood to leave there began an amazing display of helicopter aerobatics. We’d never seen, nor did we ever expect to see, a helicopter fly a loop-the-loop. Never say never. Or how about watching a helicopter fly upside down in a straight line? We saw that, too!
It’s not “sour grapes” to say that the best of the air show was the afternoon part, which we missed. We’ve been lucky enough to see fighter jets flying in close formation, up to 10 at a time, and aerobatics, and wing-walkers, out our window for weeks leading up to today. And we saw parts of the finale from our back yard. However, two members of the Saab “family” said that the whole show, even though it celebrated Saab’s 75th anniversary, was not as good as in previous years. Might the economy be impacting even the war machine? Could be…but I don’t think the defense department needs to hold a bake sale just yet.