Air Show Special: Wings Over… Westmoreland?!

The Pittsburgh Air Show has been good and cancelled for awhile now. In 2012 it wasn’t a thing; in 2013 it wasn’t a thing but I didn’t care because thanks to the commemorative air force I was taking a picture. Apparently it was un-cancelled this year, briefly – just long enough to list as maybe a thing on a couple of websites. Then it cancelled itself again and the Latrobe airport in 90-minutes-away Westmoreland county snapped up the headliner.

Back when I blogged a lot I got wordy about air shows, and those air shows were things to get wordy about – there were fleets of aircraft. Multiples. A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, F-22s. Plural. DC-3s, C-5s, C-17s, C-130s. B-52s, B-17s. Prowlers. This year there were a total of three aircraft on static display, and they were covered with people the entire time I was present. Two things took the edge off the lack of statics and the sea of bipeds – the macro mode of my SD1400 and a bit of maintenance or throat-clearing on Blue Angel #6.

It quickly became apparent that what the event lacked in static aircraft and stable static high-detail macro photographic opportunities it more than made up for in people. The ratio of ticket holders to aircraft was easily 5,000:1; likely far beyond that I-don’t-math-good guesstimate. I’ve never seen so many people in one place in my life, and in short order I was seeing less of them from the parking lot. Which would be why there are no backs of heads or ballcaps or stray elbows in the following photos.

Most of those are maximum non-digital zoom. My camera’s not really cut out for this kind of work, though I feel the shots I did get are at least indicative of the event. The aerial portion of the show did not disappoint – the presentation was well paced, photogenic, and pleasantly loud. The professionalism in the air made up for a lack of planning – or apparently, according to a runner, a lack of interest – on the ground, as the exit from the VAST SEA OF PARKING onto the highway was a two lane bottleneck directly in front of a traffic light. Based on intelligence reports from the aforementioned messenger it seems that event staff either didn’t bother to call the local police for traffic management or they did and the local police didn’t give a shit… until almost two hours of this had passed:

More exciting than Prometheus.

More exciting than Prometheus.

I flip out if I have to spend more than no seconds in line at the grocery store but the wait – that wait – didn’t get to me. It got to a few people, but they kept their cool – it was a violence-free wait. A surprisingly hornless wait. Hot and sweaty and tired and tense giving way to relief as the sheriff’s department expertly plunged the clog. Of course it was calm – jet engines have that effect on people.

They have that effect on me, anyway – which is one of the reasons this is my first “con report” with pictures. Lots of pictures! 🙂

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