5 thoughts on “Meanwhile, at the air show…”

  1. The old “flying farmer” routine, first performed during the barnstorming era. It’s good to still it’s still a staple.

    Normally, it’s about the winner of a free ride. While the pilot props the Cub’s engine to life, the bib overall wearing farmer takes off in a haphazard fashion and does this act. I saw the great Art Scholl do it in the ’70s. Back then it included pushing a dummy dressed like the farmer out of the plane once he got to altitude. Splat!

    The kids loved it.

    • Scholl used to perform at Fair St. Louis over the Mississippi River in front of the arch on the 4th of July many times. I had forgotten that he died while filming a scene for Top Gun as he crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California in 1985. His body was never recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Scholl

      • Since you brought up “Top Gun” –

        I used to be in the Aggressor Squadron in the Air Force at Clark AB – (Our unit was the Pacaf equivalent of the “Red Flag” aggressors at Nellis – there was a European version as well – I think they were at Lakenheath in the UK), The Aggressors were the Air Force equivalent of the “Top Gun School” – it was nothing like the movie; we trained ALL air force (and Allied) pilots to fly against soviet tactics; the movie made it look like “only the elite” pilots were trained which is nonsense; you don’t become an ‘elite’ fighter pilot without training for what you’re likely to face in a combat situation.

        Our unit flew the F5 Tiger II (From Northrop) – a fantastic aircraft for dogfighting – at close range/dogfight conditions we routinely outflew F15’s and F16’s around 85% of the time) – at Missile Range the F5 wouldn’t stand a chance against either aircraft but the entire point of the training was to practice dogfight conditions, gun-range; where manueverability was far more crucial than raw power and speed.

        The F5 was the same fighter depicted as “migs” in the Top Gun movie and it was not unusual for people to ask why an Air Force unit was flying Migs; even among members of the air force that should have had the ability to recognize the airframe. (The F5 is a fighter version of the T38 which for most fighter pilots in the late 70’s and 80s was the first jet aircraft they got to train in).

        Was never much of a fan of the Top Gun movie but since it was so well known it became a primary reference we used to explain what our unit did when people asked.

        One of the fun parts of working on fighter bases in the air force was that we got air shows almost every Sunday when some lucky pilot got to ‘flight test’ one of the fighters coming out of depot level maintenance. – They really put those planes through their paces to make sure they didn’t have any issues after a major overhaul. – Some of those flights blew away anything we ever saw from the thunderbirds.

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