Battle Creek Field of Flight Sounds

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The professional storm cleaner-upers have taken a break for the Fourth of July weekend. Thank you for the temporary cease in storm recovery sounds. This weekend, I’ve welcomed Battle Creek’s annual Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.

Last night came the sound of fireworks. Actually, we’ve been hearing them from neighbors for several days now, but the Field of Flight ones went off last night at the airport, where most of the weekend activities originate. We sat in neighbors’ Mark and Cindie’s front yard, and for the first time were able to see them from a couple miles away. The trees didn’t block the view, but a house across the street did, but we could see the top third of the bursts. After the show, Cindie commented, “Well, we got the gist of it.”

Jets and hot air balloons fly over our house, depending on wind direction and speed. For the past seven years, whenever we’ve heard a jet sound, we’d rush outside like excited little kids and try to find out where it is. In the past, it has been rather like “Find Waldo” trying to search in front of the sound, between the tree leaves and branches, trying to be the first to shout, “There!” During this year’s Field of Flight, we actually see sky above our house and neighborhood – very, very odd – but it makes for great air machines spotting. This year, instead of seeing jets for a millisecond, we have them in our sights for ten seconds.

I don’t know what it is about the sound of low-flying jets that get my own jets racing. From inside the house, we hear the soft “Whooo.” We are outside, looking up by the time it changes to a higher or lower octave, or more heart-stopping, when the sound ceases entirely for a second or two. Not being a pilot, I’m not sure of the reason for the different jet tones, perhaps pushing the throttle forward, or backwards, or turning, or running out of gas. (Just kidding!)

Each year we get one or two of the biggies here: Thunderbirds, Canadian Snowbirds, or Blue Angels. This year it’s the Blue Angels. And this year I can see their name on their bright blue jets. They sometimes fly low enough that the jet’s shadow is about as big as our house; low enough that they could stick out a fishing pole and latch on to our chimney. I’m pretty sure I could tell the eye color of the pilots. It is SUCH a rush to have them fly so near, and so loudly, and one of us points as soon as we see one jet (or six), and say something like, “There!” But we can’t hear each other’s words because the jets are … did I mention they fly so low?

About an hour ago, I rushed outside to the call of “fwoooooosh” from the low-floating hot air balloons overhead. They, too, cause my heart to pulsate faster than normal. This Monday was the first time this weekend they flew over out of the seven opportunity times. Yesterday morning was the first time the winds and weather was cooperative enough, but they were on the NE side of town then. With the colorful, fwoooooshing balloons overhead, my holiday weekend feels complete.

Tomorrow morning we’re supposed to get our dumpster – whoo!

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