formation.jpgThe recent recommdendation by the NTSB for banning flights over the East River notwithstanding, a New York Times reporter and photographer were treated to flights in an F-16 that raced from Manhattan to the Hamptons in 12 minutes and an aerobatic plane, respectively, in a preview of Memorial Day flight shows to occur this weekend. The reporter blacked out in the middle of a 9G turn, to the amusement of the Air Force pilot, Major Rob Skelton (call sign "Red", of course), who was providing the ride. We are only slightly 100% jealous.

Major Klatt took Vincent Laforet, a photographer for The New York Times, up in an Extra-300L aerobatic plane on Thursday.

“He took some pretty good shots while we were flying upside down, but I’ll tell you, he was turning green up there, so we came back,” Major Klatt said later.

I fared no better. After being briefed (including tips on muscle-tensing and breathing techniques to avoid passing out at “high G’s,” reminders not to pull the ejection lever, the basics of parachute-steering, and how to remove the oxygen mask to access the air sickness bag), I took the back seat in the glass-enclosed cabin of Major Skelton’s two-seater jet.

We watched West Point's Golden Knights parachutists rehearsing at the Academy Thursday morning, floating down to campus as a Huey helicopter swooped across the Hudson River. That kind of stuff just never gets old to us, as we found ourself "oohing" out loud. Today's airshow begins at 10 a.m. and repeats at 3 p.m. and will take place on Long Island's Jones Beach.

(Fleet_2007_02, by Pro-Zak at flickr)