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Feather on thunderboat
The black feather next to Jimmy Shane’s name on the Miss HomeStreet racing boat is used by Blue Origin to symbolize the freedom of flight.

The worlds of rocketry and hydroplane racing crashed together in Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Twitter feed today, and it’s all because of Jimmy Shane.

Shane’s workaday job title is integration engineer at Blue Origin, the rocket venture founded by Bezos and headquartered in Kent, Wash.

But Shane is also a second-generation thunderboat pilot. According to a Seattle Times profile, the Maryland native began racing boats at the tender age of 8.

Even though Shane relocated to the Seattle area, he still travels around the country as part of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane league. This weekend, he’s the driver for Miss HomeStreet, the boat fielded by the Miss Madison Racing Team in the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup competition on Lake Washington.

It just so happens that the trademark color for Miss HomeStreet, which is sponsored by Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank, is blue.

On Thursday, Shane showed off an artistic addition to the signature painted on his boat:

The black feather is one of Blue Origin’s key symbols.

“It’s just a symbol of the perfection of flight,” Bezos explained last year. “For thousands of years, we humans have been looking up at the birds, and wondering what it would be like to fly. … I think it’s representative of freedom and exploration and mobility and progress. For people who are in love with flight, there is no substitute.”

Bezos is in love with flight, but he’s clearly fond of fast boats as well, particularly when one of his employees is in the driver’s seat. He wished Shane well in a tweeted reply today:

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