Part of the entertainment at the Sonoma Skypark Family Fun Day was some skydiving. Some lines were marked out on the grass and Joey jumped from the Cessna flown by Trevor and targeted the landing zone. People could guess which line he would hit with a prize for the closest guess each time. Skydiving looks so cool to me so getting some shots of Joey seemed like a good plan.
He was great fun to hang out with as were the rest of the guys. His first jump came in a bit hot and he landed a little long compared to the marked area. That was not a competition jump, though, so no-one lost out. After that, he was on target for the remaining jumps. I started out staying well back but, as I built confidence in him and he knew I wasn’t going to do anything stupid, I was able to get in a better position to show him coming in. It is a quick transition from a long lens for the aerial shots to a wide one for the touchdown. He is coming in pretty fast. With a few jumps, you can try a different approach each time.
Once on the ground, Joey certainly knew how to keep the crowd happy. He stopped off to chat with people on his way back to repacking the chute and the kids seemed to love talking to him. I need to get more shots of these guys. They were fun and they look cool too. A couple of the group are also in to paragliding so now I have something else I want to check out. I also created a few animations of Joey’s departure from the Cessna so they are included below.
Big airshows can be fun. However, the confined nature of things and the number of people involved can also make them a little less enjoyable. Small events at local airfields do not provide the same level of activity but they can prove to be every bit as fun. Such is the case with the Sonoma Skypark’s Family Fun Day. This is one of those opportunities for a local airfield to invite people from the area to come and see what happens at the field. It is a good way to build relations with the local community.
I may not be “local” but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to join in. I arrived relatively early and some of the setting up was still in progress. A selection of the most interesting (read old) planes based at Skypark were being lined up on display. Some vintage cars were also being added to the lineup. Meanwhile, some of the stands were getting set up for local societies and offering food and drink.
There was no flying display taking place. However, there were some movements covering pleasure flights and some sky diving flights. The airport was shut for the main part of the event although one pilot didn’t seem to notice that. Another arrived and managed to leave the runway and ground loop in the grass. I missed this as I was watching a parachutist landing from the opposite direction. All ended up fine with no significant damage incurred.
Entry to the event included free lunch. There was a steady line of people taking advantage of the food that was being cooked and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Rides on a trailer pulled by a tractor seemed to keep the smaller visitors amused and there were competitions for paper airplanes as well. A lot of people showed up during the day and, hopefully, the bond between the airport and the community got a little bit stronger. I had a great time!