I didn't forget. An air-show was a good guess, but this was even better. More like a private air-show for a small group of field-tripping homeschoolers.
If the acronym in the title didn't get you thinking military, maybe this will help.
(Are you humming the music from Top Gun?)
We got up bright and early last Thursday and drove out to Oak Harbor to spend six hours touring NASWI - Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
What a thrill for the boys! We were amazed at how much they packed into our day, and how much they let us see, touch, and photograph. Not only that, but these guys (men and women) really love what they do. Adrenaline junkies, for certain.
We started with the Search and Rescue crews.
Whidbey has two of these Nighthawk helicopters that serve the entire PNW, as well as the military. The guys let the kids try out the gear, rappel out the door of the helo, and look at the cockpit.
We also toured their survival school. They showed us how pilots are trained to escape from planes that crash in the water, how an ejection seat works, hilarious videos of pilots learning to withstand G-forces (the only one that didn't pass out was a woman!), and check out the simulator.
We got to go down to the hangars to see several of the airplanes. We have a family friend who flies the P3-Orion, so we were really interested to get inside the two you see in this photo. (No photos from inside.)
We got a good look at the "old" EA-6B Prowlers, which are being replaced by...
... these sleek looking EA-18G Growlers. Okay, I am not military, so if I am mixing up my nicknames or alphabets, let me know so I can fix it, yah? The boys were all over it, while I nodded and said, "Cool!"
We saw inside the radar room, the Meteorology and Oceanography Office, and probably more I'm forgetting just now. But the thrill of the day was this.
They let us up into the control tower. I couldn't believe it. And they were launching all kind of stuff. It was a perfect day for training - just look at the weather :D
And they even let the kids out on the catwalk. 156 feet up off the deck. Very, very cool.
This has to be one of the best field trips we've ever done. These folks love what they do and related wonderfully to the kids. Answered every question. Wore Tate's FM system without complaint, so he could hear