Observe the Marvelous Skills of the Blue Angels

October 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

The goal of the Blue Angels is to serve as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, while at the same time promoting the recruiting efforts of these essential services. The Blue Angels showcase their skill and the capability of their airplanes in 66 air shows during a season with an average of 15 million spectators watching them perform. Since their inception in 1946 the Blue Angels have performed for over 427 million awe-struck fans.

The Blue Angels are stationed at the Forrest Sherman Field in Pensacola, Florida during the show season which runs from April through to December each year. January through March is spent at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California where intensive training of pilots and new team members takes place.

A flight demonstration by the Blue Angels showcases the remarkable skill required by all naval aviators. As the pilots put their F/A-18 Hornets through their fast paced maneuvers, it is evident that they know exactly what their airplanes are capable of and push them to the limit. The graceful aerobatic maneuvers of the four-plane Diamond Formation with displays by two solo pilots are a sight worth seeing. The display ends off with a demonstration of peak of precision flying skills as the team performs maneuvers as a unit in the six-jet Delta Formation.

At each show site, orientation flights are given to three accredited members of the local media as recommended by Navy recruiters and air show sponsors. A few VIP orientation flights are also made available each year to well known television, music, sports and movie industry personalities in order to generate media coverage to further enhance the positive image of the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels are accompanied to their shows by a Lockheed-Martin C-130T Hercules airplane, which is affectionately referred to as Fat Albert Airlines. Apart from carrying more than 40 maintenance and support personnel together with all their gear to carry off a successful air show, Fat Albert gives a demonstration of its capabilities with a jet-assisted take-off (JATO). This technique allows Fat Albert to be airborne in the short space of 1,500 feet at a 45 degree angle, reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet in approximately 15 seconds. This capability is essential in hostile environments on short or unprepared runways.

If the Blue Angels are performing anywhere near you, take the time to go and watch these highly skilled pilots maneuver their technologically advanced aircraft in a way that has to be seen to be believed.

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