Mark Archibald.jpg

Mark Archibald is a Daily Sun columnist. His column, On the Mark, runs in the Friday edition of the Daily Sun.

Even as a young man I found myself enamored by flight. The freedom and excitement speaks to my soul. I’ve been lucky enough to see the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds as well as the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team. Each of the United States flight demonstration teams are outstanding in their own right.

The first time I saw the Blue Angels fly in precise diamond formation across the wild blue yonder of Springfield, Illinois in those electric blue and yellow FA-18 Hornets, I was mesmerized, something ignited inside me.

My aunt and uncle also took me to several air shows in the Quad Cities. During a meet and greet prior to an afternoon performance, I asked one pilot if he was scared.

“There’s no time to be scared up there,” he said.

I was skeptical but now realize that training pushes fear to the back of the mind.

For generations, pilots and parachute teams have thrilled millions in the skies above America. A few of those in control of America’s jets “are the elite, the best of the best…”

I apologize, I got a bit carried away there.

“Top Gun’s” dialogue is easily quotable by those of us who have seen it dozens of times. Released in 1986, the film’s action, cinematography, and sex appeal made it a box office smash showing that pro-military films would again have a place in Hollywood.

Even if it wasn’t always realistic, the movie was a tremendous recruiting tool for the Navy. Stunt pilot, Art Scholl, and others did the flying, leaving movie stars to get the glory.

Top Gun is dedicated to Scholl who died after his plane stalled during filming. Sequels can disappoint, but fans have waited a long time to fulfill their need for speed. A coworker and I already have plans to see “Maverick” when it catapults into theaters next year.

Being the first on and last off of many commercial flights has given me ample opportunity to talk with various flight crews. Happy to make it through airport security, I’m excited to get to my seat and feel the engines begin to roar. Few things have generated similar feelings in my life.

While some consider planes buckets of bolts or weapons of war, I see aircraft as beautiful capsules with stories to share of their crew. Contemplating the tales of those aircraft is the real beauty of an air show. No matter what they were designed to do, aircraft have changed the world. They have eased suffering by delivering humanitarian aid and liberating untold millions from oppression.

All of this nostalgia and ear popping excitement brings me to my point. The Corsicana Airsho is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Hosted by the Commemorative Air Force Coyote Squadron, I hope there will be clear skies and good visibility at the C. David Campbell Airfield in Corsicana.

I can already sense the anticipation. All eyes will be peering skyward toward the flight line, from the first takeoff to the close of the show.

Recommended for you