Air show enthusiast becomes ramp coordinator

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Meyers, 362nd Training Squadron Instructor Supervisor, is an air show aficionado who attends more than a dozen of the events every year, traveling from Florida to Oregon and Texas to Nebraska to witness and photograph the acts and displays. The Guardians of Freedom Air Show tapped his expertise and gave him a new air show experience – Ramp Coordinator.

It was Meyers’ love of air shows that inspired him to join the Air Force 18 years ago.

“I was five when my dad took me to my first air show in Spokane, Washington, where I'm from, and I remember that the Thunderbirds were there,” he said. “But it wasn't until a couple years later when I was nine that I went to an air show in Yakima, Washington, where I saw the Blue Angels. But at that show, the F 16 demo team from Hill was there. And that really, from my memory, is what sparked the ‘I want to work on F-16s. I want to be at Hill. I want to be on a demo team.”

Meyers, a crew chief by trade, credits his Air Force career for opportunities to go to air shows like the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Gloucester, where he became interested in aerial photography.

 “In four years of going there, I think I saw somewhere around 17 national aerobatic teams, so like the Thunderbirds, but from 17 different nations across the world,” he said. “It was very hard to go to that air show and not want to take memories back. And so that's when I picked up a camera and started photographing airshows.”

Photography evolved into writing air show reviews, which were published online in the United States and England. Soon, he was well-known enough on the air show circuit to meet and develop a working relationship with a biplane pilot.

“I'm a crew chief for a biplane team,” he said. “I travel around with that biplane team, and I put the smoke in, and I put the fuel in, and I clean the canopies and do some logistical things for the pilots while they're getting ready to fly. I'm the guy that's prepping the airplanes and getting them ready. And really my Air Force background of being a crew chief is what allows that to take place. But it's really fun because I get all access to be around pilots and continue to inspire people and interact with a crowd and kind of tell them my story that, you know, you follow your dreams, and you can soar.”

Meyers will be behind the camera again at the Guardians of Freedom Air Show. He shared some tips for fellow enthusiasts.

“I think the biggest thing is, take a deep breath,” he said. “Don't be frustrated if you don't get the shot. You can always come back the second day if you're able to or the next time. You know the maneuvering, and then you can plan better. So don't kick yourself if you don't get the one shot that you want to get. But beyond that, and have fun, like have situational awareness, take stock of what's going on. And don't be afraid to take a shot. If something looks cool, take a shot. If it doesn't work out, great, but you may be the person that takes a shot that captures a moment that nobody else was thought of.”

According to Meyers, although taking photos at the air show is fun, there’s more to enjoying the day than getting that perfect shot.

“There's people around you, there's conversation around you that you can't have if you're behind the camera,” he said. “And while some people make a living off it and some people like that, that is just that is their form of art and they're beautiful artists taking photography. I think there's just something to be said to putting the camera down and being able to watch the ground show or the Thunderbirds or to just watch the just watch the F-35 come in on its high-speed pass when the clouds come around it and just enjoy that moment.”

The Guardians of Freedom Air Show will be held here on April 27 and 28.