The 7th annual OC Air Show finished its first day to the applause and cheering of the thousands who showed up to watch the aerial acrobatics up close. They were not disappointed.
The air show is a weekend long celebration of aeronautic precision and death-defying flight maneuvers that are proof of the expertise and dedication of the pilots involved. From a head-to-head stunt performance by Gary Ward and Greg Connell to the air ballet that is the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, there was more than enough excitement to go around.
The sound of an air show is something that can only be experienced. If you throw a truckload of cymbals down a tin hallway you wouldn't come close to the torso-shaking clamor of the plane engines.
The noise didn't bother John Heinrichs, 64, of Relay, who was attending his fifth air show.
"I love this, it makes me feel young," he said. "It makes me feel like I'm 12 again. You come out and watch the planes and it's a lot of fun."
If the crowds were any indication, many people share his sentiment. From the water's edge to the trinket shops on the boardwalk, throngs of people populated the area around 17th Street to catch the play-by-play coming out of the loud speakers set up to inform spectators about the planes, pilots and tricks being performed.
The "Candy Cane" was a trick performed by Ward and Connell that consisted of one plane flying straight while the other corkscrewed around him. The smoke trails coming out the back of the planes gives the candy-cane striping effect.
The Thunderbirds gave a Top Gun-like show that involved a lot of up-close flying near each other while one or more of the six planes was inverted. Appreciative oohs and ahhs came from the crowd every time one F-16 would pass another while each flew in opposite directions at speeds closing in on supersonic.
Much of the crowd is expected to return for the air show's second performance Sunday afternoon. Scheduled performers include U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs, Geico Skytypers and the Thunderbirds, among many others.
One-day tickets for the drop zone are $25. For more information, go to ocairshow.com.