High-Flying Acrobats: The Blue Angels
The Blue Angels flight demonstration team are comprised of very talented, extremely skilled Navy and Marine Corps pilots who volunteer for this opportunity and are taken through a thorough application selection process.
They are accompanied and supported by some of the most highly skilled enlisted men and women who provide logistical support in the form on administration, maintenance, medical (aviation), quality assurance and supply - just to name a few.
The Beginning ...
The Blue Angels were created in 1946 by Admiral Chester Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations, who wanted to raise the public's interest in naval aviation along with giving a boost to service member's morale. He felt that the best way to accomplish those goals were to assemble a flight exhibition team whose presence invoked awareness, excitement and entertainment.
I've been to a number of air shows, both as a Sailor and civilian, and have gotten to see this phenomenal flight demonstration team in action. They never disappoint with their high-octane, fast-paced flying skills. Before we talk a little about the F/A-18 Hornet that sails through the sky ways, I would like to introduce you to "Fat Albert" Airlines.
Fat Albert Airlines
"Fat Albert" is the name for the United States Marine Corps C-130T Hercules airplane that the Blue Angles utilize to transport their spare parts, equipment and support personnel. It is piloted and serviced by an all Marine crew which includes three officers and five enlisted personnel.
Blue Angels Aircraft
The F/A-18 Hornet is the most recent aircraft that the Blue Angels pilot; however, there have been a total of 10 different aircraft utilized by this flight demonstration team over the span of their 65 years in existence.
Here is a list of the different types of aircraft used by the team:
- F6F Helicat (1946)
- F8F Bearcat (1946-1949)
- F9F-2 Panther (1949-1950)
- F9F-5 Panther (1951-1955)
- F9F-8 Cougar (1955-1957)
- F11F-1 Tiger (1957-1968)
- F-4J Phantom II (1969-1974)
- A-4F Skyhawk II (1974-1986)
- F/A-18 Hornet A/B (1986-2010)
- F/A-18 Hornet C/D (Present)
If you have never been an airshow and seen this phenomenal team in action then I would suggest that you check out their website for information about the upcoming 2013 schedule. I am sure that they will be coming to a city near you and you don't want to miss all of the high-flying action that takes place when the Blue Angels are in town.