Making their first appearance in Ireland, the Thunderbirds and their F-15 fighter jets thrilled a crowd of 80,000 at the Salthill Air Show. The precision flying team has not been abroad since the terrorist attack of 9/11, and they went to Ireland for their first venture away from home.
The day was marred by a bizarre incident, when a door fell off of an RAF helicopter and struck three people who were on the beach watching the show. Gardai immediately interviewed the crew, and the helicopter is set for a thorough inspection to determine what went wrong.
As would be expected, the weather was less than perfect, but the crowd was thrilled with the Thunderbirds. Whether you care much for airplanes or not, there is a sense of awe and wonder that a viewer experiences when watching stunt pilots in very fast jets. It's a case of being impressed that human beings could create a machine capable of such swift maneuvers, to say nothing of the men and women who pilot the aircraft and make them do what they do.
The Galway Alliance Against War released 99 red balloons in protest. Remember that old German rock song, about the balloons that had something to do with anti-war drivel? No one paid any attention to the lyrics at the time, but it was a catchy tune. Still and all, a grand gesture by the 200 protesters, who tried to catch the attention of the 80,000. Tough to compete with the Thunderbirds, though, when they zoom overhead in formation. How did that song go again?