I’ve been thinking a lot lately about speed.

I had a lot of time to think while on the world’s slowest boat ride last week on a perch fishing charter with my son Ethan’s Boy Scout troop.

Alternating white and black smoke swirled from the back of the boat as its failing engines slowly sputtered their way back to the docks.

We made it back and the Lake Erie perch were safe to swim another day and paddle boarders were emboldened to take victory laps around our wake-less vessel.

The chill in the air means yet another summer has sped by as Labor Day weekend is already upon us.

The end of the traditional summer travel season also means the Cleveland National Air Show’s arrival, and speed machines of all sizes and types will be flying about Burke Lakefront Airport.

Through a bit of serendipity I will be going up with the Thunderbirds (weather and stomach permitting) as the team gets ready to thrill crowds here with some amazing maneuvers.

I was actually the alternate for the ride-along, but got the call last week to summon my courage and report to the tarmac for an Air Force doc to check my ticker to make sure it won’t beat out of my chest during the dips and turns over Lake Erie.

I should probably have the good doctor check my noggin, too, considering my willingness to go up in the first place. (If I survive, there will be an account of my crying in Saturday’s edition, or a short notice of my demise.)

I don’t consider myself much of a daredevil but it seems I have always found myself in precarious spots — like riding with the Thunderbirds — in my career. I guess it is no wonder that my personal favorite carousel is a bit of a nail-bitter too.

As I learned while researching this week’s Pulse article on area carousels to ride — most amble along at a relatively slow 3 miles per hour.

Like most parents, particularly once they out-numbered my wife, Jennifer, and I with the arrival of No. 3, then No. 4 and finally No. 5 — we always thought we were going to be those parents whose child was going to tumble off one.

Thankfully, by the time Luke arrived, the older ones were old enough to hold on for dear life on their own and able to remember to tuck their heads in and roll should the unthinkable happen.

My personal favorite carousel is Cedar Downs at Cedar Point.

Built in 1921 for Euclid Beach Park, the transplanted racing carousel — so named because not only do the horses move up and down, but they also move back and forth in a race — moves along at 14.5 miles per hour. Again that may not sound fast.

But once the old-time bugle sounds on the ride and a piped-in announcer starts calling out horse names as if this is a real race — all you can do is hold on and hope for the best.

That’s what I plan on doing at the air show, as I sit in the rear seat of the Thunderbirds’ F-16 Falcon as it streaks across the sky at some 700 mph.

Mind you that’s roughly the speed of sound — so you will likely see the jet before you hear the sound of my screams marking the end of summer, and me.

Craig Webb can be reached at 330-996-3547 or cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com