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Great Tennessee Airshow Triumphs Over Tropical Rains

Military and civilian performers flew during the two-day Great Tennessee Airshow June 8 and 9, 2019. (Charles Atkeison)

SMYRNA, Tenn. — Periods of rainfall did not stop the heartbeat of The Great Tennessee Airshow as large numbers of guests turned out and pilots navigated a wet airport runway to keep the show on course this weekend.

Periods of rain did not dampen the guests enthusiasm for watching up close top military and civilian aircraft. The performers did not disappoint either as vapor clouds enveloped along many of the aircraft thanks in part to the high humidity.

Meteorologists and airport officials aided the Air Show Boss with keeping the two-day event on schedule.

Photographers and crowds alike gasped in awe as the aircraft wing tips created long vapor trails. The humidity also caused at times huge vapor clouds over the wings and fuselage.

Blue Angels officials explained on Sunday, “Those vapor trails around our jets are caused by a rapid drop in air pressure and temperature around the wing and flight surfaces. This causes the water molecules in the air to quickly condense into vapor.”

The Navy’s Blue Angels and the F-16 Viper demonstration team provided the high speed turns and climbs each day. Civilian performers included the GEICO Skytypers, Rob Holland, Sean Tucker, and Mike Wiskus performing aerobatics across a cloudy sky.

“We can fly all the way down to a thousand feet ceiling and three miles visibility,” Blue Angels slot pilot Major Jeff Mullins said prior to Saturday’s show. “We will always try to push to make a show happen, as long as we do so safely.”

(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)

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Charles Atkeison

Written by Charles Atkeison

Charles A Atkeison is a long time aerospace journalist having covered both military and civilian aviation, plus 30 space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. He has produced multimedia aerospace content for CNN, London's Sky News, radio, print, and the web for twenty years. From flying with his father at age 5 to soaring as a VIP recently with the Navy's Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, Charles continues to enjoy all aspects of flight.

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