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Old 07-31-2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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Phew, what a weekend we had!

This weekend the Tri Cities is enjoying the Water Follies which consists of Unlimited Hydroplane races and air shows. Every year our yacht club treats the pilots and support crews to a dinner cruise on the Columbia River. We supply the boats and the fun, the Water Follies Commission supplies the food, the beer, wine and pop.

The organizers of the cruise from our club had planned on assigning the pilots and crews to certain boats. I got a call from Russ Poe, owner of Russ Poe Airshows, to see if they could be on our boat again. They had been with us last year and wanted to join us again. After a few rushed phone calls to rearrange the boat assignments we were able to make that happen.

We left the docks about 6:00, cruised for a couple of hours then returned to an area near the club where all the boats rafted up. We had Russ’ crew on board and they all got a chance to take the helm if they wanted. Food and beverage was provided by the Water Follies Commission.

After we rafted up the guests were able to go from boat to boat, looking over each of the boats and meeting the boaters. During the evening we had all of the F-22 Raptor Demo Crew on board at one time or another. While they were on board I asked one of them if I could bring my two grandsons out to the airport to see the jets. They agreed, arrangements were made for us to get a personalized tour.

Saturday morning we picked the boys up and headed to the airport. When we got there, this is what we found:

Needless to say, my grandson was more than just a little disappointed by the sign we found at the entrance.

Not to be dissuaded with a stupid sign, we wandered out toward the jets to find the crews. Here’s a shot of my admiral with Russ Poe, his girlfriend and our grandsons.


We found the pilot “Roc” and he was glad to give us a tour. They had set up a cordoned off area around the planes and he explained that no photos could be taken inside that cordon, but he would take us in to the planes. We were able to walk right up to the planes but we were cautioned not to touch them at any time.

Roc led us around the planes, showing off many of the special features of the F-22 Raptor then posed for a photo with the two boys. He spent about 30 minutes giving us the tour before he had to cut it off to do his air show.


[video:youtube]

Then Russ took us over to the hangar where all the stunt planes were parked. We were able to walk around all of them, photograph them and get some pics with the boys and the planes. We met and talked with the stunt pilots that had been with us on the boat Thursday night and they walked us around the planes they flew.






The next surprise for the boys was to take them into the pits for the Unlimited Hydroplane races. A neighbor of ours sponsors the U21 Hydro in the races on the west coast. They gave us 4 wrist bands so we could get into the pits and we had a ball.

We were able to climb up on the viewing platform on the top of their support truck to watch when the races were on and could wander around through the pits when we wanted.


I was able to get inside the secure area (I borrowed a lanyard with the necessary credential from another neighbor) and get right up to the hydros.




Here's the U21 headed out to race...

To be continued.........
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Old 07-31-2017, 02:42 PM   #2
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Unfortunately for our neighbors and the U21 crew, on thesecond lap of the race a blade came off the prop, tore off the rudder assemblyand punched a few holes in the boat. Theboat started to sink and the driver was forced to jump in the water. The boat didn't sink and was towed back tothe pits where it was raised out of the water. They inspected the damage, determined that it couldn't be fixed on thespot so that spelled the end of racing for the weekend.






The temps were pushing real hard on 100* so we left thepits, headed for home and jumped in the pool.

Sunday we spent the day at some friends’ house to watchthe races. They live right on the river,directly in front of turn 3 which is a great place to watch from. They have an annual party on their coveredbalcony and it’s the same group of friends and relatives every year. Everyone brought food dishes to share, theowner of the house cooked a couple of briskets on his Treager and, needless tosay, nobody went hungry.

I have some videos that I took, but they’re on my cameraand I’ll have to transfer them to my laptop and upload them. More to follow……..
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:26 PM   #3
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Wow! The F22 puts on an incredible show. What a rare opportunity.

WTG, Grandpa...those boys will never forget that day! No doubt, neither will you.
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:43 AM   #4
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Al, you're spot on. I took a bunch of photos and have already uploaded them to Costco to have them printed for the boys. I don't think they have grasped the concept of being THE ONLY people in the area to be able to view the F-22 up close, or how that happened to come about.


Maybe when they get another year or two older they'll get it. As we were walking out I noticed a crowd of about 50 people standing outside the fence, about 200 yards from where the jets were parked, looking at the jets.


As we went by I mentioned to the boys how lucky they were to be able to go inside the fence and get right up to the planes. In their minds I'm sure it was no big deal.


It sure was a big deal for Gramps.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:49 PM   #5
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The kids might not know it was a big deal now, but they will remember it. They'll tell the story, when they take their kids to see an F-65 in a few years.

Thanks for shareing that story with us.

Did they run any of the smaller or vintage hydro classes?
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:36 PM   #6
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Parks, you're right about them remembering it in a few years. I got several of the photos printed and picked them up today. I'll take the pics to them this weekend.


There were some 5.0L hydros running on Saturday but we didn't get there in time to see them, and a race with some "limited" hydros (I don't know anything about those), and of course, a race with the old piston powered boats. We watched that and had the feeling that it was choreographed ahead of time because they all ran right together. Three started that "old timers" race but only two finished.


As much fun as it is to watch the old piston boats, the turbine boats are so much faster it just makes the racing more fun.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:03 AM   #7
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You don't need to watch the vintage unlimited hydros, just listen to those beautiful 12 cylinder engines! Back in the early seventies I ran a little 2 liter hydro. I crewed for a friend who ran a Formula Ford car and he crewed for me. We were know as Crash and Splash.
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:23 AM   #8
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What a great time for you and family! TY for posting!!!
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