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‘Whoa’ a common reaction at Saturday’s Sea and Sky Spectacular in Jacksonville

'Whoa' a common reaction at Saturday's Sea and Sky Spectacular in Jacksonville
The Blue Angels fly in formation over the surf. The 2nd day of the 2015
Jacksonville Sea & Sky Spectacular air show was staged in
Jacksonville Beach, FL on Saturday Oct. 24, 2015.
Brooklyn McNamara, 3 1/2, "flies" her model jet with her dad Jerry McNamara as they watch the Blue Angels fly over the beach. The 2nd day of the 2015 Jacksonville Sea & Sky Spectacular air show was staged in Jacksonville Beach, FL on Saturday Oct. 24, 2015.
Brooklyn McNamara, 3 1/2, “flies” her model jet with her dad Jerry
McNamara as they watch the Blue Angels fly over the beach. The 2nd day
of the 2015 Jacksonville Sea & Sky Spectacular air show was staged
in Jacksonville Beach, FL on Saturday Oct. 24, 2015.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH | Maverick, a 2-year-old boy, shares the same name
as Tom Cruise’s hotshot aviator in “Top Gun,” but what really
fascinated him Saturday during the Jacksonville Sea and Sky Spectacular
were the tide pools left under the fishing pier, into which he plunged,
on all fours, with considerable daring.

“He thinks he can swim, but he can’t,” said his mother, Hiliary King. “He has no fear.”

But as a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon roared over the pier,
Maverick stood up in knee-deep water and looked skyward along with
everyone else.

“Whoa,” he said. Then back into the tide pool.

“Whoa” was a common reaction at the air show, with performers ranging
from aeronauts in small planes— climbing straight up, flying upside
down, leaving big looping contrails — to the thundering Blue Angels’
F/A-18 Hornets, who skimmed the waves in close formation, and weaved in
and out of each other at astonishing speeds.

Parking was tight and some streets were closed, so spectators came on
bicycles and by foot and by shuttle bus, fanning through the beach
accesses and spreading out on the sand for the best views — views topped
only by those lucky enough to be the oceanfront high-rises. Crowds were
relatively modest in the late morning hours, but had swelled
considerably by the afternoon performance of the Blue Angels.

Derwin Carter and his fiancee, Marlin Gonzalez, came early and were
getting brunch on the front porch dining area of Lynch’s Irish Pub on
First Street. From there they had a good view and they had shade, a
prized thing on this hot fall morning. Even so, they planned to move
closer as soon as they finished eating.


Carter was an avionics technician in the Navy, repairing parts for
F-18s. So he knows those planes. But he wanted a close look at the new
stuff the Navy had come out with since he left, some dozen years ago.

He never got jaded being around those fighting machines, he said. And he never got to fly in one.

“Never wanted to,” he said, laughing. “I like to view it from the ground.”

Next door to Lynch’s, at Clean Ocean Surfboards, Tony Iannarone had a
good view of the action from the checkout counter of his store. He said
the air show is his favorite Jacksonville Beach event.

He enjoys the practice sessions in the days before the show, where
the planes swoop low right over the shop, on top of you before you even
know it. He just wishes they would practice more.

It’s as simple as this: “I like the noise,” Iannarone said. “It just makes me happy, seeing the jets flying around.”

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