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In-Your-Face Flights

Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

The legendary Blue Angels will turn heads this month at the Heart of Texas Airshow in Waco. Much less thrilling was the onslaught of mosquitoes, which attacked electric lineworkers trying to restore power along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey.

Painting the Heavens Blue

The skies over Waco will rumble April 7–8 when the Blue Angels bring their precision aerobatics to the Heart of Texas Airshow at Texas State Technical College.

The team of U.S. Navy pilots and their F/A-18 jets perform around the world, flying at speeds approaching 700 mph and sometimes just 18 inches apart.

The Blue Angels were formed right after World War II when Chester W. Nimitz, chief of naval operations, ordered the creation of a flight demonstration team to showcase and promote naval aviation. Nimitz, born in Fredericksburg, commanded all land and sea forces in the Pacific during the war.

The show will include a C-130 nicknamed “Fat Albert,” the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team (known as the Black Daggers) and other flying performances. In the 72 years since the Blue Angels formed, more than 500,000 people have seen their shows. Information is available at (303) 862-2869.

In the Face of Adversity: National Lineman Appreciation Day

National Lineman Appreciation Day, April 9 this year, celebrates the highly trained workers who keep the electricity flowing to our homes in the face of all kinds of nasty conditions.

Days after Hurricane Harvey struck last August, mosquitoes took over the Texas Coast. “These mosquitoes were huge. They were like small hummingbirds,” says journeyman lineman Corey Turner, above, a foreman at Victoria Electric Cooperative. “They’re just all over our faces—in your eyes, in your ears. They go in our mouth, up our nose. We ate plenty. I promise you that.”

What is it about linemen that makes them willing to deal with challenges like mosquitoes and foul weather as part of their job?

“I think if you get in this line of work and you commit to it, I think you finally get it in your head: You know what, I’m a lineworker. I’m going to do this,” Turner says. “We’ve got people with no lights. And as long as there’s people with no lights… you’re not going to go home and feel good about yourself.”

Texas’ Shore Thing

Padre Island National Seashore turns 50 this month. On April 8, 1968, Lady Bird Johnson dedicated the park, the longest seashore in the national park system.