F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels, the US Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron

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The Blue Angels’ mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to represent the naval service to the United States, its elected leadership and foreign nations.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration TeamF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team

The Blue Angels serve as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps.

A Blue Angels flight demonstration exhibits choreographed refinements of skills possessed by all naval aviators. It includes the graceful aerobatic maneuvers of the four-plane Diamond Formation, in concert with the fast-paced, high-performance maneuvers of its two Solo Pilots. Finally, the team illustrates the pinnacle of precision flying, performing maneuvers locked as a unit in the renowned, six-jet Delta Formation.

The team is stationed at Forrest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, during the show season. However, the squadron spends January through March training pilots and new team members at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly 66 air shows at 35 air show sites in the United States during the 2007 season, as the team celebrates 20 years of flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Last season, more than 15 million spectators watched the Blue Angels perform. Since its inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 427 million fans.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)

History

At the end of World War II, Chester W. Nimitz, then the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation. The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. Flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat, they were led by Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris.

Only two months later on August 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transitioned to the Grumman F8F Bearcat. One year later, the 1947 team, led by Lt. Cmdr. Robert Clarke, introduced the now famous “Diamond Formation.”

By the end of the 1940’s the Blue Angels were flying their first jet aircraft, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. In response to the demands placed on naval aviation in the Korean Conflict, the team reported to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton as the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191), Satan’s Kittens, in 1950.

The team reorganized the next year and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, where they began flying the newer and faster version of the Panther, the F9F-5. The Blue Angels remained in Corpus Christi until the winter of 1954 when they relocated to their present home base at NAS Pensacola, Florida. It was here that they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

The ensuing 20 years saw the Blue Angels transition to two more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969).

In December 1974, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team began flying the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was reorganized as the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. This reorganization permitted the establishment of a commanding officer vice a flight leader (Cmdr. Tony Less was the squadron’s first official commanding officer), added support officers and further redefined the squadron’s mission, emphasizing the support of recruiting efforts.

On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the new sleek F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack aircraft now serving on the nation’s front lines of defense.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Members of the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron the Blue Angels perform a high speed inverted crossing maneuver in F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters at the Naval Air Station Oceana 50th Anniversary Air Show. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Members of the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron the Blue Angels perform a high speed inverted crossing maneuver in F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters at the Naval Air Station Oceana 50th Anniversary Air Show. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)

In 1992 more than one million people viewed Blue Angel’s performances during a 30-day European deployment to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain. This was the first European deployment in 19 years.

The 2007 show season brought out more than 15 million spectators. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 427 million fans.

Source: Blue Angels

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and was the world's first officially sanctioned military aerial demonstration team. The squadron's six demonstration pilots fly the Boeing FA-18 Hornet in more than 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year, where they still employ many of the same practices and techniques used in their aerial displays in 1946. Since their inception, the "Blues" have flown a variety of different aircraft types for more than 427 million spectators worldwide.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels perform their delta formation during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael HightF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels perform their delta formation during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Hight

Mission

The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.

Air show overview

The Blue Angels show season runs each year from March until November. They perform at military and civilian airfields, and often perform directly over major cities such as San Francisco and Seattle during "Fleet Week" maritime festivals.

During the aerobatic demonstration, the Blue Angels operate six FA-18 Hornet aircraft, split into the Diamond (Blue Angels 1 through 4) and the Lead and Opposing Solos (Blue Angels 5 and 6). Most of the show alternates between maneuvers performed by the Diamond and those performed by the Solos. The Diamond, in tight formation and usually at lower speeds, performs maneuvers such as formation loops, barrel rolls, and transitions from one formation to another. The Solos fly many of their maneuvers just under the speed of sound, showcasing the high performance capabilities of their individual Hornets through the execution of high-speed passes, slow passes, fast rolls, slow rolls, and very tight turns. Some of the maneuvers include both solo F/A-18s performing at once, such as opposing passes (toward each other in what appears to be a collision course) and mirror formations (back-to-back. belly-to-belly, or wingtip-to-wingtip, with one jet flying inverted). The Solos join the Diamond near the end of the show for a number of maneuvers in the Delta formation.

The parameters of each show must be tailored to local weather: in clear weather the "high" show is performed; in overcast conditions a "low" show is performed, and in limited visibility (weather permitting) the "flat" show is presented. The "high" show requires an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) ceiling and visibility of 3 nautical miles (6 km) from the show's centerpoint. "Low" and "flat" ceilings are 3,500 and 1,500 feet (460 m) respectively.

Squadron nickname, insignia and paint scheme

When initially formed, the unit was called the Navy Flight Exhibition Team. The squadron was officially redesignated as the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron in December 1974. The original team adopted the nickname Blue Angels in 1946, when one of them came across the name of the city’s famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker Magazine. The team introduced themselves as the "Blue Angels" to the public for the first time on July 21 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The official Blue Angels insignia was designed by then team leader Lt. Cmdr. R.E. "Dusty" Rhodes and approved by CNO in 1949. It is nearly identical to the current design. In the cloud in the upper right quadrant, the aircraft were originally shown heading down and to the right. Over the years, the plane silhouettes have changed along with the squadron's aircraft. Additionally, the lower left quadrant, which contains the Chief of Naval Air Training insignia, has occasionally contained only Naval Aviator wings.

Originally, demonstration aircraft were navy blue (nearly black) with gold lettering. The current shades of blue and yellow were adopted when the team transitioned to the Bearcat in 1946. For a single year in 1949, the team performed in a blinding all-yellow scheme with blue markings). The current paint scheme, including yellow stripe markings along the top of the fuselage, and "U.S. Navy" on the bottom of the wings, was designed by team member Robert L. Rasmussen in 1957.

Current aircraft

The "Blues" FA-18 aircraft are former fleet aircraft that are nearly combat-ready. They can be repainted and readied for combat service in just 72 hours. Significant modifications to each aircraft include removal of the aircraft gun and replacement with the tank that contains the paraffin-based smoked oil used in demonstrations, installation of inverted fuel pumps to increase the time aircraft can spend inverted without fuel starvation, and outfitting with the control stick spring system that is used to facilitate more precise aircraft control inputs. The standard demonstration configuration is such that the pilot must overcome 40 pounds of nose-down stick input to maintain level flight. The Blue Angels do not wear G-suits, because the air bladders inside them would repeatedly deflate and inflate. That would interfere with the control stick between a pilot's legs. Instead, Blue Angel pilots tense their stomach muscles and legs to prevent blood from rushing from their heads and rendering them unconscious.

A two-seat FA-18B (Blue Angel 7) is flown by the narrator to show sites for backup, and is used for public relations "demonstration flights" for civilians (usually selected from a press pool). The #7 aircraft is often flown by the #4 "slot" pilot during Friday "practice" shows.

Finally, a United States Marine Corps C-130T Hercules nicknamed "Fat Albert" is used for logistics, carrying spare parts, equipment, and support personnel to and from show sites. "Bert" is also used, at selected venues, for a short aerial demonstration just prior to the jet demonstration. "Fat Albert Airlines" flies with an all-Marine crew of three officers and five enlisted personnel.

Team members

The first Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Squadron, 1946–1947 assembled in front of one of their F6F Hellcats (l to r): Lt. Al Taddeo, Solo; Lt. (J.G.) Gale Stouse, Spare; Lt. Cdr. R.M. "Butch" Voris, Flight Leader; Lt. Maurice "Wick" Wickendoll, Right Wing; Lt. Mel Cassidy, Left Wing.

The first Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Squadron, 1946–1947 assembled in front of one of their F6F Hellcats (l to r): Lt. Al Taddeo, Solo; Lt. (J.G.) Gale Stouse, Spare; Lt. Cdr. R.M. "Butch" Voris, Flight Leader; Lt. Maurice "Wick" Wickendoll, Right Wing; Lt. Mel Cassidy, Left Wing.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: Jacksonville, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2006) - An F/A-18 Hornet assigned to the U.S. Navy Demonstration Squadron "Blue Angels", performs a vertical take off during a media ride with local VIP guests prior to the 2006 NAS Jax Air Show. The theme for the air show recognizes the birth of the Blue Angels at NAS Jax 60 years ago. The installation will honor the squadron during a three-day event. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher BrownF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: Jacksonville, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2006) - An F/A-18 Hornet assigned to the U.S. Navy Demonstration Squadron "Blue Angels", performs a vertical take off during a media ride with local VIP guests prior to the 2006 NAS Jax Air Show. The theme for the air show recognizes the birth of the Blue Angels at NAS Jax 60 years ago. The installation will honor the squadron during a three-day event. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Brown

All team members, both officer and enlisted, come from the ranks of regular Navy and United States Marine Corps units. The demonstration pilots and narrator are made up of Navy and USMC Naval Aviators. Pilots typically serve two years, and position assignments are made according to team needs, pilot experience levels, and career considerations for members. The team leader (#1) is the Commanding Officer and is always a Navy Commander or Captain. Pilots of numbers 2-7 are Navy Lieutenants or Lieutenant Commanders. There is usually one Marine among this group, a Captain/Major. The number 7 pilot narrates for a year, and then typically flies Opposing and then Lead Solo the following two years. It is not uncommon for the numbers 3 pilot to move to the number 4 (slot) position for his second year. Blue Angel #4 serves as the demonstration safety officer, due largely to the perspective he is afforded from the slot position within the formation, as well as his status as a second-year demonstration pilot. There are a number of other officers in the squadron, including a Naval Flight Officer, the USMC C-130 pilots, a Maintenance Officer, an Administrative Officer, and a Flight Surgeon. Enlisted members range from E-4 to E-9, and perform all maintenance, administrative, and support functions. After serving with the "Blues", members return to fleet assignments.

Training and weekly routine

Annual winter training takes place at NAF El Centro, CA, where new and returning pilots hone skills learned in the fleet. Separation between the formation of aircraft and their maneuver altitude is gradually reduced over the course of about two months in January and February. The team returns to their home base of Pensacola, Florida in March, and continue to practice throughout the show season. A typical week during the season has practices at NAS Pensacola on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Then team then flies to its show venue for the week on Thursday, conducting "circle and arrival" orientation maneuvers upon arrival. The team flies a "practice" airshow at the show site on Friday. This show is attended by invited guests but is often open to the general public. The main airshows are conducted on Saturdays and Sundays, with the team returning home on Sunday evenings. Mondays are the only routine day off.

1940s

On April 24, 1946 Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz issued a directive ordering the formation of a flight exhibition team (the first such official venture by any of the Armed Services) to boost Navy morale, demonstrate naval air power, and maintain public interest in naval aviation. However, an underlying mission was to help the Navy generate public and political support for a larger allocation of the shrinking defense budget. In April of that year, Rear Admiral Ralph Davison personally selected Lieutenant Commander Roy Marlin "Butch" Voris, a World War II fighter ace, to assemble and train a flight demonstration team, naming him Officer-in-Charge and Flight Leader. Voris selected three fellow instructors to join him (Lt. Maurice "Wick" Wickendoll, Lt. Mel Cassidy, and Lt. Cmdr. Lloyd Barnard, veterans of the War in the Pacific), and they spent countless hours developing the show. The group perfected its initial maneuvers in secret over the Florida Everglades so that, in Voris' words, "...if anything happened, just the alligators would know." The team's first demonstration before Navy officials took place on May 10, 1946 and was met with enthusiastic approval.

On June 15 Voris led a trio of Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats, specially modified to reduce weight and painted sea blue with gold leaf trim, through their inaugural 15-minute-long performance at Craig Field, Florida. The team employed a an SNJ Texan, painted and configured to simulate a Japanese Zero, to simulate aerial combat. This aircraft was later painted yellow and dubbed the "Beatle Bomb".

The team thrilled spectators with low-flying maneuvers performed in tight formations, and (according to Voris) by "...keeping something in front of the crowds at all times. My objective was to beat the Army Air Corps. If we did that, we'd get all the other side issues. I felt that if we weren't the best, it would be my naval career." The Blue Angels' first public demonstration also netted the team its first trophy, which sits on display at the team's current home at NAS Pensacola.

On August 25, 1946 the Blue Angels switched to the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat and introduced the famous "diamond" formation at the World Air Carnival in Birmingham, Alabama.

On August 25, 1946 the Blue Angels switched to the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat and introduced the famous "diamond" formation at the World Air Carnival in Birmingham, Alabama.

The team soon became known worldwide for its spectacular aerobatic maneuvers. On August 25, 1946 the squadron upgraded their aircraft to the F8F-1 Bearcat. In 1949, the team acquired a Douglas R4D Sky Train for logistics to and from show sites. The team's SNJ was also replaced by a F8F-1 "Bearcat", painted yellow for the air combat routine. The Blues transitioned to the straight-wing Grumman F9F-2 Panther on July 13, 1949, wherein the F8F-1 "Beetle Bomb" was relegated to solo aerobatics before the main show, until it crashed on takeoff at a training show in Pensacola in 1950.

1950s

The "Blues" continued to perform nationwide until the start of the Korean War in 1950, when (due to a shortage of pilots) the team was disbanded and its members were ordered to combat duty. Once aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton the group formed the core of VF-191 (Satan's Kittens).

The Blue Angels were officially recommissioned on October 25, 1951, and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Lt. Cdr. Voris was again tasked with assembling the team (he was the first of only two commanding officers to lead them twice). In 1953 the team traded its Sky Train for a Curtiss R5C Commando.

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 25, 2007) - The Navy's Flight Demonstration team, the Blue Angels, perform their delta formation during the Indianapolis Air Show. The air show was part of festivities concurrent with Indianapolis Navy Week, one of 26 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2007. Navy Week is designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary WardF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 25, 2007) - The Navy's Flight Demonstration team, the Blue Angels, perform their delta formation during the Indianapolis Air Show. The air show was part of festivities concurrent with Indianapolis Navy Week, one of 26 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2007. Navy Week is designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward

The Blues remained in Corpus Christi until the winter of 1954, when they relocated to their present home at NAS Pensacola. It was here they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

The first Marine Corps pilot, Capt Chuck Hiett, joined the team and they relocate to their current home of NAS Pensacola in the winter of 1954. In August 1954, "Blues" leader LCDR Ray Hawkins becomes the first naval aviator to survive an ejection at supersonic speeds when his F9F-6 became uncontrollable on a cross-country flight.

In Sept 1956, the team added a sixth aircraft to the flight demonstration in the Opposing Solo position, and gave its first performance outside the United States at the International Air Exposition in Toronto, Canada. It also upgraded its logistics aircraft to the Douglas R5D Skymaster.

In January 1957, the team left its winter training facility at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California for a ten year period. For the next ten years, the team would winter at NAS Key West, Forida. For the 1957 show season, the Blue Angels transitioned to the supersonic Grumman F11F-1 Tiger, first flying the short-nosed, and then the long-nosed versions. The first Six-Plane Delta Maneuvers were added in the 1958 season.

1960s

In July 1964, the Blue Angels participated in the Aeronaves de Mexico Anniversary Air Show over Mexico City, Mexico, before an estimated crowd of 1.5 million people.

In 1965, the Blue Angels conducted a Caribbean island tour, flying at five sites. Later that year, they embarked on a European tour to a dozen sites, including the Paris Air Show, where they were the only team to receive a standing ovation.

The Blues toured Europe again in 1967 touring six sites. In 1968 Skymaster transport aircraft was replaced with a C-121J Constellation, and LT Mary Russell became the first woman assigned to the squadron as its' Administrative Officer. The Blues transitioned to the two-seat McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II in 1969, nearly always keeping the back seat empty for flight demonstrations. The Phantom was the only plane to be flown by both the "Blues" and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. That year they also upgraded to the 'Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation for logistics.

1970s

The Blues received their first U.S Marine Corps Lockheed KC-130F Hercules (Bureau Number 150690) in 1970. An all-Marine crew manned it. That year, they went on their first South American tour. In 1971, the team conducted its first Far East Tour, performing at a dozen locations in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, and the Philippines. In 1972, the Blue Angels were awarded the Navy's Meritorious Unit Commendation for the two-year period from March 1, 1970 - December 31, 1971. Another European tour followed in 1973, including air shows in Tehran, Iran, England, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

In December 1974 the Navy Flight Demonstration Team downsized to the subsonic McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was reorganized into the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. This reorganization permitted the establishment of a commanding officer (the flight leader), added support officers, and further redefined the squadron's mission emphasizing the support of recruiting efforts. Commander Tony Less was the squadron's first official commanding officer.

1980s

On November 8, 1986 the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the sleek McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the first multi-role fighter/attack aircraft. The power and aerodynamics of the Hornet allows them to perform a slow, high angle of attack "tail sitting" maneuver, and to fly a "dirty" (landing gear down) formation loop, the last of which is not duplicated by the Thunderbirds.

Also in 1986, LCDR Donnie Cochran, joined the Blue Angels as the first African-American Naval Aviator to be selected. He would return to lead the team in 1993.

1990s

In 1992 the Blue Angels deployed for a month-long European tour, their first in 19 years, conducting shows in Sweden, Finland, Russia (the first foreign flight demonstration team to perform there), Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain. In 1998, CDR Patrick Driscoll made the first "Blue Jet" landing on a "haze gray and underway" aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: San Diego (Oct. 15, 2006) - An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the "Screaming Eagles" of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two (VFA-122), flown by Lt. Matt Turner, pushes the limits of the sound barrier during a performance at the Miramar Air Show on board Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This year's air show was themed "The Sound of Freedom: Celebrating the Blue Angels' 60th Anniversary", showcasing military and civilian aircraft and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott TaylorF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: San Diego (Oct. 15, 2006) - An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the "Screaming Eagles" of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two (VFA-122), flown by Lt. Matt Turner, pushes the limits of the sound barrier during a performance at the Miramar Air Show on board Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This year's air show was themed "The Sound of Freedom: Celebrating the Blue Angels' 60th Anniversary", showcasing military and civilian aircraft and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Taylor

2000s

In 2006, the Blue Angels marked their 60th year of performing.

The "Blues" have flown nine different demonstration aircraft and five support aircraft models.

Demonstration aircraft

1. Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat - June-August 1946

2. Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat - August 1946-1949

3. Grumman F9F-2 Panther - 1949-June 1950 (first jet);

4. Grumman F9F-5 Panther - 1951-Winter 1954/55

5. Grumman F9F-8 Cougar - Winter 1954/55-mid-season 1957 (swept-wing)

6. Grumman F11F-1 Tiger - mid-season 1957-1969 (first supersonic jet)

7. McDonnell F-4J Phantom II - 1969-December 1974

8. Douglas A-4F Skyhawk - December 1974-November 1986

9. McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18A, F/A-18B Hornet - November 1986-Present

Support

1. Douglas R4D Sky Train - 1949-1955

2. Curtiss R5C Commando - 1953

3. Douglas R5D Skymaster - 1956-1968

4. Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation - 1969-1973

5. Lockheed C-130 Hercules - 1970-Present

Miscellaneous aircraft

1. SNJ Texan

2. Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star

Show routine

* Fat Albert (C-130) – high performance takeoff

* Fat Albert - Flat Pass

* Fat Albert - Head on Pass

* Fat Albert - Short-Field Assault Landing

* FA-18 Engine Start-Up and Taxi Out

* Diamond Take-off (Either a loop on takeoff, a half-Cuban 8 takeoff, or a Half Squirrel Cage)

* Solos Take-off (Blue Angel #5: Dirty Roll on Take-Off; Blue Angel #6: Low Transition pitch up)

* Diamond 360: Aircraft 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in their signature 18" wingtip-to-canopy diamond formation.

* Opposing Knife-Edge Pass

* Diamond Roll

* Opposing Inverted to Inverted Rolls

* Diamond Aileron Roll

* Fortus

* Diamond Dirty Loop

* Minimum Radius Turn

* Double Farvel: Diamond formation with aircraft 1 and 4 inverted.

* Opposing Minimum Radius Turn

* Echelon Parade

* Opposing Horizontal Rolls

* Left Echelon Roll: The roll is made into the Echelon, which is somewhat difficult for the outside aircraft.

* Sneak Pass: the fastest speed of the show is about 700 mph (just under Mach 1 at sea level) Video

* Line-Abreast Loop – the most difficult formation maneuver to do well.

* Opposing Four-Point Hesitation Roll

* Vertical Break

* Opposing Pitch Up

* Barrel Roll Break

* Section High-Alpha Pass: (tail sitting), the show's slowest maneuver

* Low Break Cross

* Inverted Tuck Over Roll

* Tuck Under Break

* Delta Roll

* Fleur de Lis

* Solos Pass to Rejoin

* Loop Break Cross (Delta Break): After the break the aircraft separate in six different directions, perform half Cuban eights then cross in the center of the performance area.

* Delta Breakout

* Delta Pitch Up Break to Land

* Note, the maneuver sequence has changed in 2008 from what it was in 2007.

Source: Videos of these maneuvers

Accidents

During its history, 26 Blue Angels pilots have been killed in air show or training accidents. Through the 2006 season there have been 262 pilots in the squad's history, giving the job a 10% fatality rate.

* 1946 - September: Lt. "Robby" Robinson was killed during a performance when a wingtip broke off his Bearcat, sending him into an unrecoverable spin.

* 1952 - Two Panthers collided during a demonstration in Corpus Christi, Texas and one pilot was killed. The team resumed performances two weeks later.

* September 2, 1966 - Lt. Cmdr. Dick Oliver crashed his Tiger and was killed at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto.

* February 1, 1967 -- Lt Frank Gallagher was killed when his Tiger stalled during a practice Half Cuban 8 maneuver and spun into the ground.

* February 18, 1967 - Capt. Ronald Thompson was killed when his Tiger struck the ground during a practice formation loop.

* January 14, 1968 - Opposing solo Lt. Bill Worley was killed when his Tiger crashed during a practice double immelman.

* June 4 1971 -- CDR Harley Hall safely ejected after his Phantom caught fire and crashed during practice over Narragansett Bay near the ex-NAS Quonset Point in Rhode Island.

* January 8, 1972 -- Lt. Larry Watters was killed when his Skyhawk struck the ground while practicing inverted flight.

* March 8, 1973 -- Capt. John Fogg, Lt. Marlin Wiita and LCDR Don Bentley survived a multi-aircraft mid-air during practice over the Superstition Mountains in California.

* July 26, 1973 - 2 pilots and a crew chief were killed in a mid-air collision between 2 Phantoms over Lakehurst, NJ during an arrival practice. Team Leader LCDR Skip Umstead, Capt. Mike Murphy and ADJ1 Ron Thomas perished. The rest of the season was cancelled after this incident.

* February 22, 1977 -- Opposing solo Lt. Nile Kraft was killed when his Skyhawk struck the ground during practice.

* November 8, 1978 - One of the solo Skyhawks struck the ground after low roll during arrival maneuvers at NAS Miramar. Navy Lieutenant Michael Curtain was killed.

* May 31, 1980 - Lead Solo Lt. Jim Ross was unhurt when he ejected from his Skyhawk after it suffered a fuel line fire during a show at NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. The plane landed in a swamp near the air base.

* February 22, 1982 - Lt. Cmdr Stu Powrie, Lead Solo was killed when his Skyhawk struck the ground during winter training at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California just after a dirty loop.

* July 13, 1985 - Lead and Opposing Solo Skyhawks collided during a show at Niagara Falls, killing opposing solo Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gershon. Lt. Andy Caputi ejected and parachuted to safety.

* February 12, 1987 -- Lead solo Lt. Dave Anderson ejected from his Hornet after a dual engine flameout during practice near El Centro, CA.

* January 23, 1990 - Two Blue Angel Hornets suffered a mid-air collision during a practice at El Centro. Marine Corps Maj. Charles Moseley ejected safely. Cmdr. Pat Moneymaker landed his airplane, but it never flew again.

* October 28, 1999 - Lt. Cmdr. Kieron O'Connor, flying in the front seat of a two-seat Hornet, and recently selected demonstration pilot Lt. Kevin Colling (in the back seat) struck the ground during circle and arrival maneuvers in Valdosta, Georgia. Neither pilot survived.

* December 2, 2004 - Lt. Ted Steelman ejected from his F/A-18 approximately one mile off Perdido Key after his aircraft struck the water, suffering catastrophic engine and structural damage. He suffered minor injuries.

* April 21, 2007 - Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis crashed his Hornet near the end of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort airshow in Beaufort, South Carolina and was killed.

Other incidents involving former Blue Angels

* 1951 - LCDR Johnny Magda, while flying in Korea, was the first former Blue Angel killed in combat.

* January 27, 1973 - CDR Harley Hall (1970 team leader) was shot down flying an F-4J over Vietnam, and was officially listed as Missing In Action.

Miscellaneous

* The Blue Angels was a short-lived dramatic television series inspired by the team's exploits and filmed with the cooperation of the Navy, that aired from September 1, 1960 to March 20, 1961.

* The Blue Angels were the subject of "Flying Blue Angels," a pop song recorded by George, Johnny and the Pilots (Coed Co 555), that debuted on Billboard Magazine's "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart on September 11, 1961.

* Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience was a 1975 documentary film, written by Dune author Frank Herbert, featuring the team in practice and performance during their F-4J Phantom period; many of the aerial photography techniques pioneered in Threshold were later used in the film Top Gun.

* In 2005, the Discovery Channel aired a documentary miniseries, Blue Angels: A Year in the Life, focusing on the intricate day-to-day details of that year's training and performance schedule.

* The video for the American rock band Van Halen's 1986 release "Dreams" consists of Blue Angels performance footage. The video was originally shot featuring the Blues in the A-4 Skyhawk. It was later reshot after the transition to the F/A-18 Hornet.

* The Blue Angels appeared on an episode of Tim Allen's television sitcom Home Improvement as themselves.

* The Blue Angels were featured in the I-Max film "Magic of Flight".

* The Blue Angels Creed, written by JO1 Cathy Konn, 1991-1993:

“ Today is a very special and memorable day in your military career that will remain with you throughout your lifetime. You have survived the ultimate test of your peers and have proven to be completely deserving to wear the crest of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

The prestige of wearing the Blue Angels uniform carries with it an extraordinary honor — one that reflects not only on you as an individual, but on your teammates and the entire squadron. To the crowds at the air shows and to the public at hospitals and schools nationwide, you are a symbol of the Navy and Marine Corps' finest. You bring pride, hope and a promise for tomorrow's Navy and Marine Corps in the smiles and handshakes of today's youth. Remember today as the day you became a Blue Angel; look around at your teammates and commit this special bond to memory. "Once a Blue Angel, always a Blue Angel," rings true for all those who wear the crest of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Welcome to the team.

More photos:

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels execute a fly-by at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels execute a fly-by at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Six F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the world famous delta formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Six F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the world famous delta formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels perform at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels perform at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four FF/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the diamond formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four FF/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the diamond formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (Sept. 21, 2008) An F/A-18 Hornet of the Navy's flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, makes a high speed turn during the 50th anniversary air show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Alan/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (Sept. 21, 2008) An F/A-18 Hornet of the Navy's flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, makes a high speed turn during the 50th anniversary air show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Alan/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the diamond formation as make a pass from the crowd's left during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in the diamond formation as make a pass from the crowd's left during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels fly in formation during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Golden Anniversary 2008 Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron fly in a stacked formation during their performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Four F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron fly in a stacked formation during their performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two solo F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels perform a high speed crossing maneuver at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 20, 2008) Two solo F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters from the Blue Angels perform a high speed crossing maneuver at center point in front of the crowd during the precision flight demonstration squadron's performance at the 50th Anniversary Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 7, 2008) The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team The Blue Angels perform for more than 100,000 guests during the Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. This will be the final Navy-sponsored air show at this location before NAS Brunswick is scheduled close in 2011 by the Base Realignment Commission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: DULUTH, Minn. (July 16, 2008) Minnesota Vikings' head coach, Brad Childress, and Marine Corps Major Nathan Miller, complete a demonstration flight in Blue Angels No. 7. The Blues will perform as the cornerstone event of Duluth Navy Week, one of 22 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Greg DevereauxF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: DULUTH, Minn. (July 16, 2008) Minnesota Vikings' head coach, Brad Childress, and Marine Corps Major Nathan Miller, complete a demonstration flight in Blue Angels No. 7. The Blues will perform as the cornerstone event of Duluth Navy Week, one of 22 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Greg Devereaux

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BOSSIER CITY, La. (May 9, 2008) The Blue Angels, the Navy flight demonstration squadron, practices for an air show at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly R. StephensF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BOSSIER CITY, La. (May 9, 2008) The Blue Angels, the Navy flight demonstration squadron, practices for an air show at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly R. Stephens

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BOSSIER CITY, La. (May 9, 2008) The Blue Angels, the Navy flight demonstration squadron, practices for an air show at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly R. StephensF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BOSSIER CITY, La. (May 9, 2008) The Blue Angels, the Navy flight demonstration squadron, practices for an air show at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly R. Stephens

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 6, 2008) A pyrotechnics display is detonated near the flight line at Naval Air Station Brunswick during The Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. DuncanF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: BRUNSWICK, Maine (Sept. 6, 2008) A pyrotechnics display is detonated near the flight line at Naval Air Station Brunswick during The Great State of Maine Air Show. The air show brought performances by the Blue Angels, The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and a wide variety of static displays and interactive exhibits. The show drew more than 150,000 people over three days. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: SEATTLE (Aug. 2, 2008) The Navy flight demonstration squadron, The Blue Angels, perform in an air show over Genesee Park as part of Seattle Sea Fair's festivities. Service members, their families, and the general public gathered at Genesee Park to enjoy band performances, air shows, and hydroplane races. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chantel M. Clayton/Released)F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: SEATTLE (Aug. 2, 2008) The Navy flight demonstration squadron, The Blue Angels, perform in an air show over Genesee Park as part of Seattle Sea Fair's festivities. Service members, their families, and the general public gathered at Genesee Park to enjoy band performances, air shows, and hydroplane races. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chantel M. Clayton/Released)

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: PENSACOLA, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2007) The No. 4 jet piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Thomas R. Winkler, of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, lands his F/A-18 at Sherman Field on board Naval Air Station Pensacola at the end of a performance of the 2007 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. An estimated crowd of 150,000 naval aerial enthusiasts from around the world attended the final show of the 2007 schedule for the Blue Angels. U.S. Navy photo by Gary NicholsF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: PENSACOLA, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2007) The No. 4 jet piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Thomas R. Winkler, of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, lands his F/A-18 at Sherman Field on board Naval Air Station Pensacola at the end of a performance of the 2007 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. An estimated crowd of 150,000 naval aerial enthusiasts from around the world attended the final show of the 2007 schedule for the Blue Angels. U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: PENSACOLA, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2007) The No. 6 jet flown by Lt. Cmdr. Craig R. Olson and the No. 5 jet flown by Lt. Cmdr. John D. Allison, both of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly over Sherman Field on board Naval Air Station Pensacola during a performance of the 2007 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. An estimated crowd of 150,000 naval aerial enthusiasts from around the world attended the final show of the 2007 schedule for the Blue Angels. U.S. Navy photo by Gary NicholsF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: PENSACOLA, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2007) The No. 6 jet flown by Lt. Cmdr. Craig R. Olson and the No. 5 jet flown by Lt. Cmdr. John D. Allison, both of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly over Sherman Field on board Naval Air Station Pensacola during a performance of the 2007 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. An estimated crowd of 150,000 naval aerial enthusiasts from around the world attended the final show of the 2007 schedule for the Blue Angels. U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: EL CENTRO, Calif. (March 8, 2008) The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, perform at the El Centro Air Show. The show was the first of 35 planned performances for the Blue Angels in 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Brian GainesF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: EL CENTRO, Calif. (March 8, 2008) The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, perform at the El Centro Air Show. The show was the first of 35 planned performances for the Blue Angels in 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Brian Gaines

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels perform their delta formation during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael HightF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels perform their delta formation during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Hight

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 23, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, take off toward awaiting fans during a two-day event held in Millington, Tenn. The air show featured aerial demonstrations and static displays of civilian and military aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael RussellF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 23, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, take off toward awaiting fans during a two-day event held in Millington, Tenn. The air show featured aerial demonstrations and static displays of civilian and military aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Russell

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2007) - The U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration team, the Blue Angels, performs a “smoke-out” during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The team is scheduled to participate in 66 air shows at 35 sites in the United States during the 2007 season. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Orlando QuinteroF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2007) - The U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration team, the Blue Angels, performs a “smoke-out” during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The team is scheduled to participate in 66 air shows at 35 sites in the United States during the 2007 season. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Orlando Quintero

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2007) – Two of the Navy Blue Angels’ F/A-18s perform a high-speed maneuver during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The Blue Angels’ performance was the highlight of the three-day event, which included a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of civilian and military aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward I. FaggF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2007) – Two of the Navy Blue Angels’ F/A-18s perform a high-speed maneuver during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The Blue Angels’ performance was the highlight of the three-day event, which included a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of civilian and military aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward I. Fagg

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The Navy's Blue Angels topped the bill at this year’s Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day event included performances by the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, and a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua NuzzoF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The Navy's Blue Angels topped the bill at this year’s Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day event included performances by the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, and a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Nuzzo

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - An F/A-18 Super Hornet breaks the sound barrier during the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day show included performances by the Navy’s Blue Angels, the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, and a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua NuzzoF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - An F/A-18 Super Hornet breaks the sound barrier during the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day show included performances by the Navy’s Blue Angels, the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, and a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Nuzzo

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The Navy's Blue Angels fly down the flight line during the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day event included performances by the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, as well as a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua NuzzoF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The Navy's Blue Angels fly down the flight line during the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The three-day event included performances by the British Red Devils and Blackwater USA parachute jump teams, as well as a variety of aerial demonstrations and static displays of military and civilian aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Nuzzo

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - Blue Angel Number 6, the opposing solo, pulls back on the stick while passing Blue Angel Number 5 during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels’ mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to represent the naval service to the United States, its elected leadership and foreign nations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael HightF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 14, 2007) - Blue Angel Number 6, the opposing solo, pulls back on the stick while passing Blue Angel Number 5 during the Blues on the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Blue Angels’ mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to represent the naval service to the United States, its elected leadership and foreign nations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Hight

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: SEATTLE (Aug. 3, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the "Blue Angels," performs during a 2007 Seattle Seafair event. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. Seafair is Seattle's month-long traditional summer festival, which includes parades, amateur athletics, air shows and boat racing. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seamen Charles WhetstineF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: SEATTLE (Aug. 3, 2007) - The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the "Blue Angels," performs during a 2007 Seattle Seafair event. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18A Hornet, performing approximately 30 maneuvers during the aerial demonstration lasting over an hour. Seafair is Seattle's month-long traditional summer festival, which includes parades, amateur athletics, air shows and boat racing. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seamen Charles Whetstine

F/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, fly in formation during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The show featured a variety of civilian and military aircraft flight demonstrations and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. ZalaskyF/A-18 Hornet: Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Team: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 9, 2007) - The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, fly in formation during the 2007 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show. The show featured a variety of civilian and military aircraft flight demonstrations and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky

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