Monday, October 5, 2009

More of the Blues

The Blue Angels, the world's oldest Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, begin each season the second Saturday of March at their winter home in El Centro, California.

From there they tour North America, amazing nearly 15 million people before returning to their home base in Penascola, Florida in November.

The Blue Angels maintenance and support crew travel aboard a Marine Corps C-130 Hercules affectionately called "Fat Albert".
Each season Fat Albert flies more than 100,000 miles carrying 45 crew members and specialized equipment needed to complete an airshow.

Fat Albert also opens each show by displaying the tactical flight characteristics of the C-130.
The other planes flown are F/A-18 Hornets, a twin-engine multi-mission strike fighter designed to operate from aircraft carriers and land bases.

The Blue Angels team consists of 130 Marines and Sailors hand-picked from the fleet. They must meet certain requirements and be recommended by their current commanding officer to be considered for the team. This group will spend two or three years performing.
The Blues got their start at the end of World War II when the Chief of Naval Operations, Chester W. Nimitz, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation.

They performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base in Jacksonville, Florida.
The F6F Hellcat was flown for two months before the team transitioned to the F8F Bearcat. In 1947 the team introduced the now-famous "Diamond Formation".

By the end of the 1940's the Blue Angels were flying their first jet aircraft, the F9F-2 Panther, but deployed on the aircraft carrier USS Princeton in response to needs in the Korean Conflict in 1950.
From then until 1986, the Blue Angels flew 5 other types of aircraft. On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels had completed their 40th anniversary year when they unveiled their present aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet.

Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 455 million fans.

1 comment:

  1. Great shots! Very interesting history too. I had no idea there were 130 people on that team - wow where were they?