From the first air show mom took me too - I was six - I was bitten by the bug. The smell of kerozine, the noise, the jets flashing by at 1.000 km/h, the sheer anticipation of seeing my favourite aircraft in real life.
Bad eyesight, too tall and a weak stomach made be decide to pursue a different career than being a pilot. Just as well perhaps. I still have aviation as my passion and ducked becoming a stressed out pilot of Ryan Air. Phew.
Numerous air shows have I visited since the roaring 70's when the variety of flying machines was much bigger than today. And the shows took place right in front of you, in stead of a quarter mile away. Less safe were those days, but the thrill was exponentially bigger. Luckily I witnessed no crashes, but I surely did see some very hairy, cowboy moments.
Air show photography in those days was constrained by the film quality. Kodachrome 64 was king, but the digital monsters of today are way ahead when it comes to just about every aspect. I wish I could travel back in time, with my modern gear and "shoot" the Cold War aircraft, the purest definition of cool designs and hands on technology.