Saturday morning at 6:30 sharp six cars left the WAWA in Stafford, VA and cruised 31 miles to the Burger King in Manassas, VA. We met three other cars at the BK and then at 8:15 we cruised to the airport which is right around the corner from the BK. We had been invited to participate in the first Wings, Wheels and Warriors event benefiting the Wounded Warrior Aviation group. The event was held at the Manassas Regional Airport and promised to be a very special day.
Since we arrived as a group we were easy to guide to our parking area by the ramp master. We were to share that corner of the ramp with some “exotic” cars, a few of which were already parked. We all set up our cars and prepared for the day to unfold. The exotic cars kept arriving in single units. All nine of them very nice cars and all of Italian manufacture, except for one Cobra roadster. Our rowdy American made hot rods did look a little unsophisticated in comparison but I think all of the “car” people enjoyed sharing their personal automotive passion with the great masses that were to walk by during the day. One of the things that made it a little difficult for us was that some of the exotic car owners allowed and sometime encouraged the spectators to climb into their cars and to handle them. Then when they came to our cars with the very custom paint that included painted running boards, and the non replaceable parts used on some of the cars they didn’t understand why we asked them to not step on the running boards and not to climb inside the hot rods. I guess the door props that some of us use when we display our cars were understood as us holding the door open so they could get inside!? So the laid back, enjoyable day that all of us were anticipating didn’t work out for some. The Princess started to lose her voice by the end of the day! While we did enjoy the day some of us had a very stressful time and I’m sure they will not attend another event like that, we will be back though! We were also parked near the pickup and drop off area for the helicopter rides….so there was always an engine noise in the background while we were near the cars.
The event coordinators went to great length to provide something to keep the spectators engaged all day….and they succeeded. There were many static airplanes and other vehicles to see and great food vendors. There was a motorcycle stunt group that put on 3 shows during the day. Watching them made me feel really old….sometimes I have trouble just walking around and they were doing things that defied the laws of physics. There were also airplanes available that offered rides around the area for a small charge. Also a band was playing swing music most of the day and when the air display began everyone was watching the Mustang fly. Since my Dad was a fighter pilot and flew the Mustang in WWII, every time I have the privilege to see one, especially in the air, I always take the time to watch it’s graceful, powerful and purposeful flight and it always reminds me of the “High Flight” poem.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr
My Dad lived to fly….he was at home and where he belonged when he was in a cockpit. He loved his Mustang and often told me how it would do anything he would ask it to do but that it was also an evil mistress and would not tolerate any laziness or inattention. Kinda reminds me of the RedRat! It will do anything you want but you must manage the beast in the machine. The big difference is when the RedRat misbehaves I can get out, stand on the ground and talk to it in an uncomplimentary way…. but airplanes are very different as then never left one up there…. they always come back ….one way or another!
Around 2:30 the sky started getting black and Ron’s really smart phone said the red & yellow rain (?) was coming our way….so we packed up and left. It was a great day for us and I hope Wounded Warrior Aviation raised a pile of money for their cause. I know they raised the awareness of some of our Warriors needs. Thanks for putting on this event.