So this weekend is the Joint Services Open House at Andrews AFB. THe weather forcast looked great, then, horrible, and surprise surprise, yesterday was beautiful! So we went to the air show with our friends Steve and Mindy, and their two kids, who are about 3 and 5. Fortunately, their kids are really well-behaved, and they actually pay attention to how their kids are acting, so no complaints there. Their kids are a lot of fun to be around.

Since 9/11, you can’t part on base anymore -you have to go to Fed Ex Field and take a shuttle bus, which is miserable because of the searches and long lines, especially to get on the buses to go back afterwards. It’s a hugely long wait to get on a bus.

Fortunately, Doug has a CAC card, since he’s a civilian that works with the Navy, and that will get us on Base! We used it last year, but got funneled to an event parking lot and still had to take a bus, even if it was a better deal than the Fed Ex Field buses. This time we decided to try another entrance to the base, and we ignored event parking signs (and there were no people forcing us to use event parking). We found a lot right near the airfield where other likeminded people were parking, and were able to just walk! We were very excited!

So we found a good spot and camped out there with our chairs and blanket. We were by a kind of annoying speaker that kept cutting in and out. That was the only bad thing. The weather was nice, sunny, breezy, only a few transient clouds. Perfect! Usually the weather for this air show is either roastingly hot, or freezing with a low ceiling so nothing can fly but the Harrier.

We caught a bunch of aerobatic airplanes, a really cool acrobatic helicopter that could actually do rolls and flips. That was unlike anything I’ve ever seen! There were the Golden Knights parachute team (some of the members have actually done two thousand drops – one person had over four thousand, which is incredible to me!) And another parachute team. The A-10, some WWII era planes. A P-51. An amazing FA-18 demo. And we saw the F-22 Raptor demo which was probably the thing that impressed me the most, other than the helicopter. It can do some incredible things – it can practically float in the air, and it can do a flip right over and around its nose. Seriously amazing stuff. Then the Thunderbirds were the last thing to go. They were great as always. I believe there is now a female Thunderbird pilot, which makes me really happy.

Speaking of female pilots, one of J-9’s C-130Js was there, and I was able to joke around with some of the people she know who were with the plane which was fun. Many of the planes on static display are open and you can walk through them or sit in them, even in the cockpits. So that was the pic I took in the cockpit of J-9’s plane. :-) They have all kinds of stuff on static display, from huge transports like C-5s, where the nose flips up so tanks and such can be rolled in, to Air Force One, to helicopters, howitzers, all sorts of fighters, 4 C-130s from varying places. A B-1 bomber – and they often have a B-52. Sometimes they have a B-2 stealth on display, but not this year.

There was supposed to be an F-117A flyover earlier this morning, but we missed it. However, as we were walking to the car afterwards, we saw the F-117 fly around in a circle – and then it did 3 more laps befor disappearing! So we got a really nice view of it!

We also avoided the traffic getting out because the gate we were near was right near the Beltway -last year we got stuck in a lot of event traffic.

So really, it was the most successful air show ever!

I didn’t take a whole lot of pics since we go ever year, and I feel like I take the same pictures over and over – and my camera lens isn’t really good enough to take great aerial shots – but I took a few pics which are here: