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U.S. Navy Blue Angels Jet Crashes

The Blue Angels, formally named the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, are a flight demonstration squadron of the United States Navy.[1] Formed in 1946, the unit is the second oldest formal aerobatic team on the earth, after the French Patrouille de France formed in 1931. The team, composed of six Navy and one Marine Corps demonstration pilot, fly Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets.

The Blue Angels sometimes perform aerial displays in at the very least 60 shows annually at 30 areas throughout the United States and two reveals at one location in Canada.[2] The “Blues” still make use of lots of the same practices and strategies used within the inaugural 1946 season. An estimated eleven million spectators view the squadron during air reveals from March through November annually. Members of the Blue Angels team also go to more than 50,000 individuals in colleges, hospitals, and group functions at air present cities.[3] Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for greater than 505 million spectators.[4]

As of November 2011[replace], the Blue Angels obtained $37 million annually from the annual Department of Defense funds.[5][6]


The mission of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is to showcase the pleasure and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a tradition of excellence and service to the nation by means of flight demonstrations and neighborhood outreach.[7]

Air exhibits[edit]

The “Blues” perform at each army and non-navy airfields, and sometimes at main U.S. cities and capitals; additionally locations in Canada are sometimes included in the air present schedule.

During their aerobatic demonstration, the six-member staff flies F/A-18 Hornets,[8] split into the diamond formation (Blue Angels 1 by way of 4) and the Lead and Opposing Solos (Blue Angels 5 and 6). A lot of the show alternates between maneuvers carried out by the Diamond Formation and people performed by the Solos. The Diamond, in tight formation and usually at decrease speeds (four hundred mph), performs maneuvers equivalent to formation loops, rolls, and transitions from one formation to another. The Solos showcase the high performance capabilities of their individual aircraft via the execution of high-speed passes, slow passes, fast rolls, sluggish rolls, and really tight turns. The very best pace flown during an air show is seven-hundred mph (slightly below Mach 1) and the lowest speed, is 126 mph (a hundred and ten knots) throughout Section High Alpha with the new Super Hornet (about one hundred fifteen knots with the outdated “Legacy” Hornet). Some of the maneuvers include each solo aircraft performing at once, resembling opposing passes (toward one another in what appears to be a collision course) and mirror formations (again-to-back, stomach-to-belly, or wingtip-to-wingtip, with one jet flying inverted). The Solos join the Diamond Formation close to the top of the show for quite a lot of maneuvers within the Delta Formation.

The parameters of every present have to be tailored in accordance with local weather situations at showtime: in clear weather the excessive present is carried out; in overcast situations a low present is performed, and in limited visibility (weather permitting) the flat show is offered. The excessive show requires at the very least an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) ceiling and visibility of not less than three nautical miles (6 km) from the present’s center level. The minimum ceilings allowed for low and flat shows are 4,500 feet, and 1,500 feet respectively.[9]


The group flew the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet for 34 years from 1986 via 2020. The workforce at present flies the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

In August 2018, Boeing was awarded a contract to transform nine single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornets and two F/A-18F two-seaters for Blue Angels use. Modifications to each F/A-18E/F embrace removal of the weapons and substitute with a tank that incorporates smoke-oil utilized in demonstrations and outfitting the control persist with a spring system for extra precise aircraft control input. Control sticks are tensioned with 40 pounds (18 kg) of drive to allow the pilot minimal room for non-commanded motion of the aircraft. Each modified F/A-18 stays within the fleet and might be returned to combat responsibility aboard an aircraft provider within 72 hours.[10] As transformed aircraft have been delivered, they have been used for testing maneuvers beginning in mid 2020.[11][12] The staff’s Super Hornets turned operational by the beginning of 2021, their 75th anniversary 12 months.[13]

The show’s narrator flies Blue Angels No. 7, a two-seat F/A-18F Hornet, to indicate sites. The Blues use these jets for backups, and to offer demonstration rides to VIP (civilians). Usually, two back seats rides are available at each air show; one goes to a member of the press, and the opposite to the “Key Influencer”.[9] The No. Four slot pilot typically flies the No. 7 aircraft in Friday’s “apply” so that pilots from the fleet and future team members can expertise the present.

In 2020 the United States Marine Corps Blue Angels bought a surplus Royal Air Force Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules, Registration ZH885, nicknamed “Fat Albert”, for their logistics, carrying spare components, gear, and to hold help personnel between show re-registering as 170000.

Team members[edit]

As of the 2020 season[replace], there have been 272 demonstration pilots within the Blue Angels since their inception.[14][15]

All crew members, each officer and enlisted, pilots and staff officers, come from the ranks of standard Navy and United States Marine Corps models. The demonstration pilots and narrator are made up of Navy and USMC Naval Aviators. Pilots serve two to three years,[3] and position assignments are made in line with group needs, pilot expertise levels, and profession considerations for members. Other officers in the squadron embody a naval flight officer who serves because the occasions coordinator, three USMC C-130 pilots, an government officer, a upkeep officer, a supply officer, a public affairs officer, an administrative officer, and a flight surgeon. Enlisted members vary from E-4 to E-9 and perform all maintenance, administrative, and help features. They serve three to 4 years in the squadron.[3] After serving with the squadron, members return to fleet assignments.

The officer selection process requires pilots and help officers (flight surgeon, occasions coordinator, upkeep officer, provide officer, and public affairs officer) wishing to become Blue Angels to apply formally via their chain-of-command, with a personal statement, letters of advice, and flight data. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 demonstration pilots and naval flight officers are required to have a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet hours and be service-qualified. Marine Corps C-130 demonstration pilots are required to have 1,200 flight hours and be an aircraft commander.[17]

Applicants “rush” the staff at one or more airshows, paid out of their own finances, and sit in on group briefs, post-present actions, and social occasions. It’s vital that new officers match the prevailing tradition and crew dynamics. The applying and evaluation process runs from March by way of early July, culminating with extensive finalist interviews and crew deliberations. Team members vote in secret on the next year’s officers. Selections should be unanimous. There have been female and minority workers officers as Blue Angel members,[18] together with minority Blue Angel pilot Lt. Andre Webb on the 2018 staff. Flight surgeons serve a two-year term. The flight surgeon supplies group medical companies, evaluates demonstration maneuvers from the bottom, pilot gamzix and participates in each submit-flight debrief. The primary female Blue Angel flight surgeon was Lt. Tamara Schnurr, who was a member of the 2001 team.[19]

The Flight Leader (No. 1) is the commanding officer and always holds the rank of commander, and may be promoted to captain mid-tour if permitted by the choice board. Pilots of numbers 2-7 are Navy lieutenant commanders or lieutenants, or Marine Corps majors or captains. The No. 7 pilot narrates for a year, and then sometimes flies Opposing and then Lead Solo the next two years, respectively. The No. 3 pilot strikes to the No. 4 (slot) place for their second yr. Blue Angel No. Four serves because the demonstration safety officer, due largely to the attitude they’re afforded from the slot position inside the formation, as well as their standing as a second-yr demonstration pilot. The first lady named to the Blue Angels as F/A-18 demonstration pilot was Lt. Amanda Lee, who is a member of the 2023 staff.[20]

Commander Alexander P. Armatas is a native of Skaneateles, New York. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering. Alexander joined the Blue Angels in August 2022. He has accumulated more than 4,a hundred flight hours and 911 service-arrested landings. His decorations embody the Meritorious Service Medal, 4 Strike/Flight Air Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various personal, unit and repair awards.[21]

Training and weekly routine[edit]

Annual winter coaching takes place at NAF El Centro, California, where new and returning pilots hone expertise realized within the fleet. During winter training, the pilots fly two practice periods per day, six days per week, to fly the a hundred and twenty coaching missions wanted to carry out the demonstration safely. The separation between the formation of aircraft and their maneuver altitude is progressively reduced over the course of about two months in January and February. The group then returns to their home base in Pensacola, Florida, in March, and continues to follow throughout the present season. Despite all their winter training, the Blue Angels workforce work effortlessly to make an impression within the communities they go to as effectively. A typical week through the season has practices at NAS Pensacola on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The team then flies to its present venue for the upcoming weekend on Thursday, conducting “circle and arrival” orientation maneuvers upon arrival. The crew flies a “observe” airshow on the show site on Friday. This show is attended by invited friends but is usually open to the general public. The main airshows are performed on Saturdays and Sundays, with the staff returning residence to NAS Pensacola on Sunday evenings after the show. Monday is an off day for the Blues’ demonstration pilots and road crew. Extensive aircraft maintenance is carried out on Sunday evening and Monday by upkeep crew members.

Pilots maneuver the flight stick to their proper hand and function the throttle with their left. They do not put on G-fits as a result of the air bladders inside repeatedly deflate and inflate, increasing the risk of unintentional motion. To compensate for the lack of G-fits, Blue Angel pilots have developed a technique for tensing their muscles to forestall blood from pooling in their lower extremities, presumably rendering them unconscious.[22]



The Blue Angels have been originally formed in April 1946 because the Navy Flight Exhibition Team.[23] They changed their name to the Blue Angels after seeing an advertisement for the brand new York nightclub The Blue Angel, additionally identified as the Blue Angel Supper Club, in the brand new Yorker Magazine.[24][25] The team was first launched because the Blue Angels during an air show in July 1946.[26]

The primary Blue Angels demonstration aircraft wore navy blue (practically black) with gold lettering. The present shades of blue and yellow were adopted when the primary demonstration aircraft have been transitioned from the Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat to the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat in August 1946; the aircraft wore an all-yellow scheme with blue markings in the course of the 1949 show season.[27]

The unique Blue Angels insignia or crest was designed in 1949, by Lt. Commander Raleigh “Dusty” Rhodes, their third Flight Leader and first jet fighter leader. The aircraft silhouettes change as the workforce adjustments aircraft.[1]

The Blue Angels transitioned from propeller-pushed aircraft to blue and gold jet aircraft (Grumman F9F-2B Panther) in August 1949.[28]

The Blue Angels demonstration teams started wearing leather jackets and special colored flight fits with the Blue Angels insignia, in 1952. In 1953, they started carrying gold coloured flight fits for the first show of the season and or to commemorate milestones for the flight demonstration squadron.[29][30][31][32]

The Navy Flight Exhibition Team was reorganized and commissioned the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron on 10 December 1973.[33]


The Blue Angels have been established as a Navy flight exhibition group on 24 April 1946 by order of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz to generate greater public support of naval aviation. To spice up Navy morale, show naval air energy, and maintain public interest in naval aviation, an underlying mission was to assist the Navy generate public and political assist for a larger allocation of the shrinking defense funds. Rear Admiral Ralph Davison personally chosen Lieutenant Commander Roy Marlin “Butch” Voris, a World War II fighter ace, to assemble and prepare a flight demonstration staff, 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), they usually spent countless hours developing the show. The group perfected its preliminary maneuvers in secret over the Florida Everglades so that, in Voris’ words, “if something happened, simply the alligators would know”. The first four pilots and people after them, had been and are a few of the perfect and most skilled aviators within the Navy.[34]

The group’s first demonstration with Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat aircraft befell before Navy officials on 10 May 1946 and was met with enthusiastic approval. The United States Navy’s Blue Angels performed their first air present at what’s now JaxEx (previously Craig Municipal Airport, one in all 6 airports in the Jacksonville, FL space developed for army coaching), on June 15, 1946.[35] The exhibition workforce flew three Gruman F6F Hellcat Fighter planes. (a fourth F6F-5 was held in reserve). On 15 June, Voris led the three Hellcats (numbered 1-3), specially modified to scale back weight and painted sea blue with gold leaf trim, by their inaugural 15-minute-lengthy efficiency.[1] The crew employed a North American SNJ Texan, painted and configured to simulate a Japanese Zero, to simulate aerial combat. This aircraft was later painted yellow and dubbed the “Beetle Bomb”. This aircraft is alleged to have been inspired by one of many Spike Jones’ Murdering the Classics collection of musical satires, set to the tune (partially) of the William Tell Overture as a thoroughbred horse race scene, with “Beetle Bomb” being the “trailing horse” in the lyrics.

The workforce thrilled spectators with low-flying maneuvers performed in tight formations, and (in line with Voris) by “keeping one thing in front of the crowds at all times. My goal was to beat the Army Air Corps. If we did that, we would get all the opposite side issues. I felt that if we weren’t the best, it would be my naval profession.” The Blue Angels’ first public demonstration also netted the group its first trophy, which sits on display on the workforce’s present house at NAS Pensacola. During an air present at Omaha, Nebraska on 19-21 July 1946, the Navy Flight Exhibition Team was introduced because the Blue Angels.[36] The title had originated via a suggestion by Right Wing Pilot Lt. Maurice “Wick” Wickendoll, after he had learn about the Blue Angel nightclub in The new Yorker journal. After ten appearances with the Hellcats, the Hellcats were changed by the lighter, sooner, and more highly effective F8F-1 Bearcats on 25 August.[36] By the top of the 12 months the workforce consisted of four Bearcats numbered 1-four on the tail sections.

In May 1947, flight chief Lt. Cmdr. Bob Clarke changed Butch Voris as the chief of the group. The team with a further fifth pilot, relocated to Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas. On 7 June at Birmingham, Alabama, 4 F8F-1 Bearcats (numbered 1-4) flew in diamond formation for the first time which is now thought of the Blue Angels’ trademark. A fifth Bearcat was additionally added that year. A SNJ was used as a Japanese Zero for dogfights with the Bearcats in air reveals.

In January 1948, Lt. Cmdr. Raleigh ” Dusty” Rhodes took command of the Blue Angels crew which was flying 4 Bearcats and a yellow painted SNJ with USN markings dubbed “Beetle Bomb”; the SNJ represented a Japanese Zero for the air present dogfights with the Bearcats. The title “Blue Angels” also was painted on the Bearcats.[37]

In 1949, the group acquired a Douglas R4D Skytrain for logistics to and from show sites. The workforce’s SNJ was additionally replaced by another Bearcat, painted yellow for the air combat routine, inheriting the “Beetle Bomb” nickname. In May, the workforce went to the west coast on non permanent responsibility so the pilots and the remainder of the workforce could change into accustomed to jet aircraft.[34] On thirteen July, the workforce acquired, and began flying the straight-wing Grumman F9F-2B Panther between demonstration reveals.[38] On 20 August, the crew debuted the panther jets below Team Leader Lt. Commander Raleigh “Dusty” Rhodes[36] throughout an air present at Beaumont, Texas and added a sixth pilot.[39][40] The F8F-1 “Beetle Bomb” was relegated to solo aerobatics before the primary present, until it crashed on takeoff at a training show in Pensacola on 24 April 1950, killing “Blues” pilot Lt. Robert Longworth. Team headquarters shifted from NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, to NAAS Whiting Field, Florida, on 10 September 1949, introduced 14 July 1949.[41]


The Blue Angels pilots continued to carry out nationwide in 1950. On 25 June, the Korean War began, and all Blue Angels pilots[42] volunteered for combat duty. The squadron (resulting from a scarcity of pilots, and no obtainable planes) and its members have been ordered to “combat-prepared standing” after an exhibition at Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas on 30 July.[34] The Blue Angels were disbanded,[36] and its pilots were reassigned to a provider. Once aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton on 9 November, the group formed the core of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-19), “Satan’s Kittens”, beneath the command of World War II fighter ace and 1950 Blue Angels Commander/Flight Leader, Lt. Commander John Magda; he was killed in action on 8 March 1951.[43]

On 25 October 1951, the Blues were ordered to re-activate as a flight demonstration team, and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Lt. Cdr. Voris was again tasked with assembling the group (he was the first of only two commanding officers to steer them twice). In May 1952, the Blue Angels started performing once more with F9F-5 Panthers[44] at an airshow in Memphis, Tennessee.[34] In 1953, the group traded its Sky Train for a Curtiss R5C Commando. In August, “Blues” chief LCDR Ray Hawkins became the first naval aviator to survive an ejection at supersonic speeds when a brand new F9F-6 he was piloting became uncontrollable on a cross-country flight.[45][46][47] After summer time, the workforce began demonstrating with F9F-6 Cougar.

In 1954, the first Marine Corps pilot, Captain Chuck Hiett, joined the Navy flight demonstration group.[48] The Blue Angels additionally received special coloured flight fits.[36] In May, the Blue Angels performed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., with the Air Force Thunderbirds (activated 25 May 1953).[49] The Blue Angels started relocating to their present dwelling at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida that winter,[50] and it was right here they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-eight Cougar. In December, the workforce left its house base for its first winter coaching facility at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California[51]

In September 1956, the crew added a sixth aircraft to the flight demonstration in the Opposing Solo position,[52] and gave its first efficiency exterior the United States on the International Air Exposition in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It also upgraded its logistics aircraft to the Douglas R5D Skymaster.[53]

In 1957, the Blue Angels transitioned from the F9F-eight Cougar to the supersonic Grumman F11F-1 Tiger.[54] The first demonstration was flying the quick-nosed version on 23 March, at Barin Field, Pensacola, after which the lengthy-nosed versions. The demonstration group (with added Angel 6) wore gold flight suits throughout the primary air show that season.

In 1958, the primary Six-Plane Delta Maneuvers had been added that season.[citation needed]


In July 1964, the Blue Angels participated within the Aeronaves de Mexico Anniversary Air Show over Mexico City, Mexico, earlier than an estimated crowd of 1.5 million folks.

In 1965, the Blue Angels carried out a Caribbean island tour, flying at 5 sites. Later that year, they embarked on a European tour to a dozen websites, together with the Paris Air Show, the place they were the one staff to receive a standing ovation.

In 1967, the Blues toured Europe once more, at six websites.

In 1968, the C-fifty four Skymaster transport aircraft was replaced with a Lockheed VC-121J Constellation. The Blues transitioned to the 2-seat McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II in 1969, nearly always maintaining the back seat empty for flight demonstrations. The Phantom was the only airplane to be flown by each the “Blues” and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds (the “Birds”). That year additionally they upgraded to the Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation for logistics.


In 1970, the Blues acquired their first U.S. Marine Corps Lockheed KC-130F Hercules, manned by an all-Marine crew. That yr, they went on their first South American tour.

In 1971, the crew which wore the gold flight fits for the first show,[55] conducted its first Far East Tour, performing at a dozen places in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, and the Philippines.

In 1972, the Blue Angels had been awarded the Navy’s Meritorious Unit Commendation for the two-12 months period from 1 March 1970 to 31 December 1971. Another European tour adopted in 1973, together with air exhibits in Iran, England, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

On 10 December 1973, the Navy Flight Exhibition Team was reorganized and commissioned the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.[56][57] The Blues mission was more on Navy recruiting.

In 1974, the Blue Angels transitioned to the new Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II. Navy Commander Anthony Less grew to become the squadron’s first “commanding officer” and “flight leader”. A permanent flight surgeon position and administration officer was added to the workforce.[56][57] The squadron’s mission was redefined by Less to additional enhance the recruiting effort.

Beginning in 1975, “Bert” was used for Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and brief aerial demonstrations simply previous to the principle occasion at chosen venues, however the JATO demonstration ended in 2009 due to dwindling supplies of rockets.[58] “Fat Albert Airlines” flies with an all-Marine crew of three officers and five enlisted personnel.


In 1986, LCDR Donnie Cochran, joined the Blue Angels as the first African-American Naval Aviator to be chosen.[59][60] He served for two more years with the squadron flying the left wing-man position within the No. Three A-4F fighter, and returned to command the Blue Angels in 1995 and 1996.[61]

On eight November 1986, the Blue Angels accomplished their 40th anniversary 12 months throughout ceremonies unveiling what could be their aircraft by way of their 75th anniversary yr, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The power and aerodynamics of the Hornet allows them to perform a gradual, excessive angle of assault “tail sitting” maneuver, and to fly a “dirty” (touchdown gear down) formation loop.[62][63]


Today is a very special and memorable day in your navy career that will remain with you throughout your lifetime. You might have survived the last word test of your friends and have proven to be fully 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 which reflects not only on you as an individual, but in your teammates and your complete squadron. To the crowds at the air reveals and to the public at hospitals and colleges nationwide, you might be an emblem of the Navy and Marine Corps’ finest. You deliver satisfaction, hope and a promise for tomorrow’s Navy and Marine Corps in the smiles and handshakes of today’s youth. Remember at the moment as the day you became a Blue Angel; look around at your teammates and commit this special bond to memory. “Once a Blue Angel, at all times a Blue Angel,” rings true for all those that put on the crest of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Welcome to the staff.

The Blue Angels Creed, written by JO1 Cathy Konn 1991-1993[64]

In 1992, the Blue Angels deployed for a month-long European tour, their first in 19 years, conducting exhibits in Sweden, Finland, Russia (first international flight demonstration crew to perform there), Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

In 1998, CDR Patrick Driscoll made the primary “Blue Jet” touchdown on a “haze grey and underway” aircraft provider, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).

On eight October 1999, the Blue Angels misplaced two pilots. LCDR Kieron O’Connor and LT Kevin Colling were returning from a practice flight before an air present when their F/A-18B crashed in a wooded area of south Georgia.[65]


In 2000, the Navy was conducting investigations in regard and linked to the lack of two Blue Angels pilots in October 1999. The pilots of the F/A-18 Hornet were not required to wear and don’t put on g-fits.[quotation wanted]

In 2006, the Blue Angels marked their 60th 12 months of performing.[66] On 30 October 2008, a spokesman for the group introduced that the workforce would complete its last three performances of the 12 months with 5 jets instead of six. The change was as a result of one pilot and another officer within the organization had been faraway from responsibility for partaking in an “inappropriate relationship”. The Navy mentioned one of many people was a man and the opposite a woman, one a Marine and the opposite from the Navy, and that Rear Admiral Mark Guadagnini, chief of Naval air training, was reviewing the scenario.[67] At the subsequent efficiency at Lackland Air Force Base following the announcement the No. Four or slot pilot, was absent from the formation. A spokesman for the staff wouldn’t confirm the id of the pilot faraway from the group.[68] On 6 November 2008, both officers were discovered responsible at an admiral’s mast on unspecified expenses but the resulting punishment was not disclosed.[69] The names of the two members involved were later launched on the Pensacola News Journal website/discussion board as pilot No. 4 USMC Maj. Clint Harris and the administrative officer, Navy Lt. Gretchen Doane.[70]

On 21 April 2007, pilot Kevin “Kojak” Davis was killed and eight people on the ground have been injured when Davis misplaced management of the No. 6 jet and crashed as a consequence of G-power-induced lack of consciousness (G-LOC) during an air present at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina.[71]

The Fat Albert performed its final JATO demonstration on the 2009 Pensacola Homecoming show, expending their eight remaining JATO bottles. This demonstration not solely was the last JATO performance of the squadron, but also the ultimate JATO use of the U.S. Marine Corps.[72]

In 2009, the Blue Angels have been inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[73]


On 22 May 2011, the Blue Angels had been performing on the Lynchburg Regional Airshow in Lynchburg, Virginia, when the Diamond formation flew the Barrel Roll Break maneuver at an altitude decrease than the required minimum.[74] The maneuver was aborted, the remainder of the demonstration canceled and all aircraft landed safely. The subsequent day, the Blue Angels announced that they have been initiating a safety stand-down, canceling their upcoming Naval Academy Airshow and returning to their residence base in Pensacola, Florida, for extra coaching and airshow follow.[75] On 26 May, the Blue Angels announced they would not be flying their traditional fly-over of the Naval Academy Graduation Ceremony and that they have been canceling their 28-29 May 2011 performances at the Millville Wings and Wheels Airshow in Millville, New Jersey.

On 27 May 2011, the Blue Angels announced that Commander Dave Koss, the squadron’s commanding officer, would be stepping down. He was changed by Captain Greg McWherter, the staff’s previous commanding officer.[76] The squadron canceled performances on the Rockford, Illinois Airfest 4-5 June and the Evansville, Indiana Freedom Festival Air Show 11-12 June to allow extra follow and demonstration coaching under McWherter’s leadership.[76]

On 29 July 2011, a new Blue Angels Mustang GT was auctioned off for $400,000 at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh (Oshkosh Air Show) annual summer gathering of aviation fans from 25 to 31 July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin which had an attendance of 541,000 individuals and 2,522 show planes.[77][78]

Between 2 and 4 September 2011 on Labor Day weekend, the Blue Angels flew for the primary time with a fifty-fifty blend of standard JP-5 jet gas and a camelina-based mostly biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.[79] McWherter flew an F/A-18 check flight on 17 August and acknowledged there were no noticeable differences in performance from contained in the cockpit.[80][81]

On 1 March 2013, the U.S. Navy announced that it was cancelling remaining 2013 performances after 1 April 2013 as a result of sequestration price range constraints.[82][83] In October 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, stating that “group and public outreach is a vital Departmental exercise”, introduced that the Blue Angels (along with the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds) would resume appearing at air reveals beginning in 2014, although the variety of flyovers will proceed to be severely reduced.[84]

On 15 March 2014, the demonstration pilots numbered 1-7 wore gold flight fits to rejoice the staff’s “return to the skies” during their first air show of the season;[85] there were solely three air reveals in 2013.

In July 2014, Marine Corps C-130 pilot Capt. Katie Higgins, 27, became the primary feminine pilot to join the Blue Angels, flying the help aircraft Fat Albert for the 2015 and 2016 show seasons.[86]

In July 2015, Cmdr. Bob Flynn grew to become the Blue Angels’ first executive officer.[87]

On 2 June 2016, Capt. Jeff Kuss, an Opposing Solo, died simply after takeoff whereas performing the Split-S maneuver in his Hornet throughout a follow run for The good Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee. The Navy’s investigation found that Capt. Kuss had carried out the maneuver too low while failing to retard the throttle out of afterburner, causing him to fall too fast and get well too low above the bottom. Capt. Kuss ejected, however his parachute was instantly engulfed in flames, inflicting him to fall to his death. Kuss’ physique was recovered simply yards away from the crash site. The reason for dying was blunt power trauma to the top. The investigation additionally cited weather and pilot fatigue as extra causes of the crash. In a strange twist, Captain Kuss’ fatal crash happened hours after the Blue Angels’ fellow pilots in the United States Air Force Thunderbirds suffered a crash of their very own, following the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony earlier that day. Capt. Jeff Kuss was changed by Cmdr. Frank Weisser to finish out the 2016 and 2017 seasons.[quotation wanted]

In July 2016, Boeing was awarded a $12 million contract to begin an engineering proposal for converting the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for Blue Angels use, with the proposal to be accomplished by September 2017.[88]

The Fat Albert (BUNO 164763) was retired from service in May 2019 with 30,000 flight hours. The Blue Angels replaced it with an Ex-RAF C-130J (BUNO 170000).[89]


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Blue Angels flew over a number of US cities as a tribute to healthcare and entrance line staff.[90]

The Blues formally transitioned to Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets on 4 November 2020.[91][92]

In July 2022, Lt. Amanda Lee was announced as the first lady to function a demonstration pilot within the Blue Angels.[20][93]

Aircraft timeline[edit]

The “Blues” have flown ten totally different demonstration aircraft and 6 assist aircraft fashions:[53][94]

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat: June – August 1946Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat: August 1946 – 1949Grumman F9F-2 Panther: 1949 – June 1950 (first jet); F9F-5 Panther: 1951 – Winter 1954/fifty fiveGrumman F9F-8 Cougar: Winter 1954/fifty five – mid-season 1957 (swept-wing)Grumman F11F-1 (F-11) Tiger: mid-season 1957 – 1968 (first supersonic jet)McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II: 1969 – December 1974Douglas A-4F Skyhawk: December 1974 – November 1986McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet (F/A-18B as #7): November 1986 – 2010[95]Boeing F/A-18A/C (B/D as #7) Hornet: 2010-2020[96][97]Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (F/A-18F as #7): 2020-[98]

JRB Expeditor (Beech 18): 1949-?Douglas R4D-6 Skytrain: 1949-1955Curtiss R5C Commando: 1953Douglas R5D Skymaster: 1956-1968Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation: 1969-1973Lockheed C-130 Hercules “Fat Albert”: 1970-2019 (JATO usage was stopped in 2009)[99]Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules “Fat Albert”: 2020-present

North American SNJ Texan “Beetle Bomb” (used to simulate a Japanese A6M Zero aircraft in demonstrations through the late 1940s)Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (Used throughout the 1950s as a VIP transport aircraft for the group)Vought F7U Cutlass (two of the unusual F7Us have been received in late 1952 and flown as a facet demonstration during the 1953 season but they were not part of their regular formations which at the time used the F9F Panther. Pilots and ground crew discovered it unsatisfactory and a plan to make use of it because the team’s main aircraft was canceled). Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Air present routine[edit]

The 2022 Blue Angels High Show Routine:

– Fat Albert (C-130) – excessive-efficiency takeoff (Low Transition)- Fat Albert – Parade Pass (The plane banks around the front of the group.)- Fat Albert – Flat Pass- Fat Albert – Head on Pass- Fat Albert – Short-Field Assault Landing- FA-18 Engine Start-Up and Taxi Out- Diamond Takeoff – either a low transition with flip, a loop on takeoff, a Half Cuban Eight takeoff, or a Half Squirrel Cage- Solos Take Off – No. 5 Dirty Roll on Takeoff; No. 6 Low transition/Immelman- Diamond 360 – Aircraft 1-four of their signature 18-inch wingtip-to-canopy diamond formation- Opposing Knife Edge Pass – 5 and 6- Diamond Roll – total diamond formation rolls as a single entity- Opposing Inverted to Inverted Rolls – 5 and 6- Diamond Aileron Roll – all four diamond jets perform simultaneous aileron rolls- Fortus – Solos flying in carrier landing configuration with No. 5 inverted, establishing a “mirror picture” effect- Diamond Dirty Loop – the diamond flies a loop with all 4 jets in service landing configuration- Minimum Radius Turn – highest G maneuver (No. 5 flies a “horizontal loop” pulling seven Gs to take care of a tight radius.)- Double Farvel – diamond formation flat move with No. 1 and No. 4 inverted- Opposing Minimum Radius Turn- Echelon Parade- Opposing Horizontal Rolls- Changeover Roll – a left Echelon barrel roll the place the echelon formation adjustments over to diamond formation after 90° off financial institution.- Sneak Pass – the fastest pace of the show, just below Mach 1 (about 700 mph at sea degree)- Line-Abreast Loop – the most troublesome formation maneuver to do nicely (No. 5 joins the diamond as the 5 jets fly a loop in a straight line.)- Opposing Four Point Hesitation Roll- Vertical Break- Opposing Vertical Pitch- Barrel Roll Break- Tuck Over Roll- Low Break Cross- Section High-Alpha Pass: (tail sitting), the present’s slowest maneuver[100][101]- Diamond Burner 270- Delta Roll- Fleur de Lis- Solos Pass to Rejoin, Diamond flies a loop- Loop Break Cross – Delta Break (After the break the aircraft separate in six different instructions, carry out half Cuban Eights then cross in the middle of the efficiency space.)- Delta Breakout- Delta Pitch Up Carrier Break to LandCommanding officers[edit]

Notable Commanding Officers embrace;

Roy Marlin Voris – 1946, 1952- John J. Magda – 1950, Killed in Action March 1951, Korean War[102]Arthur Ray Hawkins – 1952 to 1953[103]- Richard Cormier – 1954 to 1956[104]Edward B. Holley – 1957 to 1958Zebulon V. Knott – 1959 to 1961[105]Kenneth R. Wallace – 1962 to 1963[106]Robert F. Aumack – 1964 to 1966[107]William V. Wheat – 1967 to 1969[108]Harley H. Hall – 1970 to 1971Don Bently – 1972Marvin F. “Skip” Umstead – 1973[109]Anthony A. Less – Oct 1973 to Jan 1976Keith S. Jones – 1976 to 1978[110]William E. Newman – 1978 to 1979[111]Hugh D. Wisely – Dec 1979 to 1982[112]David Carroll – 1982 to 1983Larry Pearson – 1983 to 1985[113]Gilman E. Rud – Nov 1985 to Nov 1988[114]Gregory Wooldridge – 1990 to 1992, 1996[115]- Robert E. Stumpf – 1993 to 1994[116]Donnie Cochran – Nov 1994 to May 1996George B. Dom – Nov 1996 to Oct 1998[117]Patrick Driscoll – Oct 1998 to 2000[118]

– Robert Field – 2000 to Sept 2002- Russell J. Bartlett – Sept 2002 to Sept 2004[119]- Stephen R. Foley – Sept 2004 to Nov 2006[120]- Kevin Mannix – Nov 2006 to 2008[121]- Gregory McWherter 2008 to 2010, 2011[122]- David Koss – Fall 2010 to spring of 2011- Gregory McWherter – 2011 to 2012- Thomas Frosch – 2012 to 2015[123]- Ryan Bernacchi – 2015 to 2017[124]- Eric D. Doyle – 2017 to 2019- Brian C. Kesselring – 2019 to 2022- Alexander P. Armatas – 2022 to current

Notable members[edit]

Below are a few of the extra notable members of the Blue Angels squadron:

Capt Roy “Butch” Voris, World War II fighter ace and first Flight LeaderCharles “Chuck” Brady Jr., Astronaut and physicianDonnie Cochran, First African-American Blue Angels aviator and commanderEdward L. Feightner, World War II fighter ace and Lead SoloArthur Ray Hawkins, World War II flying aceBob Hoover, World War II fighter pilot and flight instructor, honorary Blue Angel memberAnthony A. Less, First Commanding Officer of Blue Angels squadron, quite a few other commands together with Naval Air Forces Atlantic FleetRobert L. Rasmussen, aviation artistRaleigh Rhodes, World War II and Korean War fighter pilot and third Flight Leader of the Blue Angels[125]Patrick M. Walsh, Left Wingman and Slot Pilot who later commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet and turned Vice Chief of Naval Operations and a White House FellowKatie Higgins Cook First feminine Blue Angels pilotAmanda Lee First female Blue Angels demonstration pilotTeam accidents and deaths[edit]

A complete of 20 Blue Angels pilots and one crew member have died while assigned to the flight workforce.[126][127] Four other pilots died in fight action after their service with the Blue Angels.[126]


– Lt. Ross “Robby” Robinson – 29 September 1946: killed during a efficiency when a wingtip broke off his F8F-1 Bearcat, sending him into an unrecoverable spin.- Lt. Bud Wood – 7 July 1952: killed when his F9F-5 Panther collided with another Panther jet during a demonstration in Corpus Christi, Texas.[128] The staff resumed performances two weeks later.- Cmdr. Robert Nicholls Glasgow – 14 October 1958: died throughout an orientation flight just days after reporting for obligation as the new Blue Angels chief.[129]- Lt. Anton M. Campanella (#three Left Wing) – 14 June 1960: killed flying a Grumman F-11A Tiger that crashed into the water near Fort Morgan, Alabama throughout a check flight.[128]- Lt. George L. Neale – 15 March 1964: killed throughout an attempted emergency landing at Apalach Airport near Apalachicola, Florida. Lt. Neale’s F-11A Tiger had skilled mechanical difficulties throughout a flight from West Palm Beach, to Naval Air Station Pensacola, inflicting him to try the emergency touchdown. Failing to achieve the airport, he ejected from the aircraft on ultimate method, but his parachute did not have sufficient time to fully deploy.[130]- Lt. Cmdr. Dick Oliver – 2 September 1966: crashed his F-11A Tiger and was killed at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto.- Lt Frank Gallagher – 1 February 1967: killed when his F-11A Tiger stalled throughout a practice Half Cuban Eight maneuver and spun into the bottom.- Capt. Ronald Thompson – 18 February 1967: killed when his F-11A Tiger struck the bottom during a apply formation loop.- Lt. Bill Worley (Opposing Solo) – 14 January 1968: killed when his Tiger crashed during a observe double Immelmann.- Lt. Larry Watters – 14 February 1972: killed when his F-4J Phantom II struck the ground, upright, whereas practicing inverted flight, during winter training at NAF El Centro.- Lt. Cmdr. Skip Umstead (Team Leader), Capt. Mike Murphy, and ADJ1 Ron Thomas (Crew Chief) – 26 July 1973: all three had been killed in a mid-air collision between two Phantoms over Lakehurst, New Jersey, during an arrival practice. The rest of the season was cancelled after this incident.- Lt. Nile Kraft (Opposing Solo) – 22 February 1977: killed when his Skyhawk struck the bottom during practice.- Lt. Michael Curtin – 8 November 1978: one of the solo Skyhawks struck the bottom after low roll during arrival maneuvers at Naval Air Station Miramar, and Curtin was killed.- Lt. Cmdr. Stu Powrie (Lead Solo) – 22 February 1982: killed when his Skyhawk struck the bottom during winter coaching at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, just after a dirty loop.- Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gershon (Opposing Solo #6) – thirteen July 1985: his Skyhawk collided with Lt. Andy Caputi (Lead Solo #5) throughout a present at Niagara Falls, Gershon was killed and Caputi ejected and parachuted to security.[131]- Lt. Cmdr. Kieron O’Connor and Lt. Kevin Colling – 28 October 1999: flying within the back seat and front seat of a Hornet, both were killed after putting the ground during circle and arrival maneuvers in Valdosta, Georgia.[132]- Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis – 21 April 2007: crashed his Hornet close to the end of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort airshow in Beaufort, South Carolina, and was killed.[133]- Capt. Jeff Kuss (Opposing Solo, #6) – 2 June 2016: died simply after takeoff while performing the Split-S maneuver in his F/A-18 Hornet during a observe run for The great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee.Other incidents[edit]

– Lt. John R. Dewenter – 2 August 1958: landed wheels up at Buffalo Niagara International Airport after experiencing engine troubles throughout a show in Clarence, New York. The Grumman F-eleven Tiger landed on Runway 23, however exited airport property, coming to rest within the intersection of Genesee Street and Dick Road, nearly hitting a filling station. Lt. Dewenter was uninjured, however the plane was a complete loss.- Lt. Ernie Christensen – 30 August 1970: stomach-landed his F-4J Phantom at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after he inadvertently left the landing gear in the up place.[134] He ejected safely, while the aircraft slid off the runway.- Cmdr. Harley Hall – four June 1971: safely ejected after his F-4J Phantom jet caught fire throughout observe over NAS Quonset Point in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and crashed in Narragansett Bay.[135]- Capt. John Fogg, Lt. Marlin Wiita, and Lt. Cmdr. Don Bentley – eight March 1973: all three survived a multi-aircraft mid-air collision during follow over Superstition Mountain, near El Centro, California.- Lt. Jim Ross (Lead Solo) – April 1980: unhurt when his Skyhawk suffered a gasoline line hearth throughout a show at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico. Lt. Ross stayed with the aircraft and landed, leaving the top of the runway and rolling into the woods after a complete hydraulic failure upon touchdown.- Lt. Dave Anderson (Lead Solo) – 12 February 1987: ejected from his Hornet after a twin engine flame-out throughout observe near El Centro, California.- Marine Corps Maj. Charles Moseley and Cmdr. Pat Moneymaker – 23 January 1990: their Blue Angel Hornets suffered a mid-air collision during a practice at El Centro. Moseley ejected safely and Moneymaker was able to land his airplane, which then required a whole right wing substitute.[136]- Lt. Ted Steelman – 1 December 2004: ejected from his F/A-18 approximately one mile off Perdido Key after his aircraft struck the water, suffering catastrophic engine and structural injury. He suffered minor accidents.[137]Combat casualties[edit]

Four former Blue Angels pilots have been killed in action or died after being captured, all having been downed by anti-aircraft fire.[138]

Korean War[edit]

– Commander John Magda – 8 March 1951: Blue Angels (1949, 1950; Commander/Flight Leader 1950): Magda was killed after his F9F-2B Panther was hit by anti aircraft hearth while leading a low-stage strike mission against North Korean and Chinese communist positions at Tanchon which earned him the Navy Cross in the course of the Korean War.[139] He additionally was a fighter ace in World War II.Vietnam War[edit]

– Commander Herbert P. Hunter – 19 July 1967: Blue Angels (1957-1959; Lead Solo pilot): Hunter was hit by anti-aircraft fireplace in North Vietnam and crashed in his F-8E Crusader in the course of the Vietnam war.[140][141] He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously for actions on sixteen July 1967. He additionally was a Korean War veteran.- Captain Clarence O. Tolbert – 6 November 1972: Blue Angels (1968): Tolbert was flying a Corsair II (A-7B) throughout a mission in North Vietnam and was hit by anti-aircraft fireplace, crashed, and died during his second tour within the Vietnam war. He was awarded the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.[142]- Captain Harley H. Hall – 27 January 1973: Blue Angels (1970-1971; Commander/Team Leader 1971): Hall and his co-pilot were shot down by anti-aircraft fire in South Vietnam flying their F-4J Phantom II on the final day of the Vietnam War, and so they each were officially listed as prisoners of conflict. In 1980, Hall was presumed to have died whereas captured.[143][144][145] His stays have been recognized on 6 September 1994.[146]Within the media[edit]

The Blue Angels was a dramatic television collection, starring Dennis Cross and Don Gordon, impressed by the workforce’s exploits and filmed with the cooperation of the Navy. It aired in syndication from 26 September 1960 to three July 1961.[147]Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience is a 1975 documentary film, written by Dune author Frank Herbert, that includes the crew in follow and efficiency throughout their F-4J Phantom era; most of the aerial photography techniques pioneered in Threshold had been later used within the movie Top Gun.[148]To Fly!, a short IMAX movie featured at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum since its 1976 opening options footage from a digicam on a Blue Angels A4 Skyhawk tail because the pilot performs in a show.[149]- In 2005, the invention Channel aired a documentary miniseries, Blue Angels: A Year within the Life, focusing on the intricate day-to-day details of that yr’s training and efficiency schedule.[150][151]- In 2009, MythBusters enlisted the help of Blue Angels to help take a look at the myth that a sonic increase might shatter glass.[152]Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds is a four-disc SkyTrax DVD set 2012 Topics Entertainment, Inc. It options highlights from airshows performed in the United States shot from inside and outside the cockpit including interviews of squadron aviators, plus aerial combat footage taken during Desert Storm, histories of the two flying squadrons from 1947 by means of 2008 including on-screen notes on modifications in Congressional budgeting and analysis program funding, photograph gallery slideshow, and two “ahead-trying” sequences Into the twenty first Century detailing developments of the F/A-18 Hornet’s C and E and F models (10 min.) and footage of the F-22 with commentary (20 min.).See also[edit]

List of United States Navy aircraft squadronsUnited States Air Force ThunderbirdsUnited States Marine Corps AviationReferences[edit]

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Archived from the original on eleven December 2011. Retrieved three March 2012.^ “Flight Teams, 1949-1973 images”. Blue Angels Association. Archived from the unique on 23 March 2019. Retrieved sixteen March 2019.^ D’Costa, Ian (eleven April 2015). “When the Blue Angels Went to War”. TACAIRNET. Retrieved 4 March 2019.^ Moon, Troy (3 July 2017). “Pensacola son remembers father – a Navy pilot and Blue Angel – 50-yr after tragic loss of life”. Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2019.^ “Herbert Perry Hunter”. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, The Wall Of Faces. Retrieved 15 March 2019.^ “Clarence O. Tolbert”. Veterans Tribute. Retrieved 16 March 2019.^ “Harley Hubert Hall”. The Virtual Wall, Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Retrieved eleven March 2019.^ “Harley Hall:Vietnam POW (carrying gold flight suit-1971)”. OPB Tv/Radio. Archived from the original on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2019.^ “Hall, Harley Hubert”. POW Network. Retrieved eleven March 2019.^ “U.S. Accounted-For from the Vietnam War” (PDF). Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Retrieved 22 December 2015.^ “The Blue Angels”. IMDb. 26 September 1960.^ “Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience”. IMDb. 1 September 1975.^ “To Fly!”. Smithsonian Institution.^ Blue Angels: A Year in the Life Archived eleven January 2008 on the Wayback Machine^ “‘Blue Angels: A Year in the Life’ (2005)”. IMDb. Retrieved 3 March 2012.^ “Mythbusters Episode Features Blue Angels, June 10”. Aero-News Network. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2021.Further studying[edit]

– (2012). “My incredible flight aboard the Blue Angels” By Charles Atkeison Archived 16 January 2013 at archive.at presentBlue Angels Timeline (1946-1980) accessed 10 November 2005.”Grumman and the Blue Angels” Archived 25 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine article by William C. Barto at the Grumman Memorial Park Archived 19 May 2020 on the Wayback Machine official website, accessed 15 October 2005.- “First Blue: The story of World War II Ace Butch Voris and the Creation of the Blue Angels” by Robert K. Wilcox, Thomas Dunne Books/St.Martins Press, 2004, robertkwilcox.comExternal hyperlinks[edit]

Blue Angels, official U.S. Navy internet site Archived 2 March 2000 on the Wayback MachineComplete Blue Angels HistoryThe Navy’s Blue Angels (1966), Texas Archive of the Moving ImageBlue Angels Sneak Pass video on Youtube.com




Alexander ArmatasDonnie CochranArthur Ray HawkinsAnthony A. LessRoy Marlin Voris

Charles E. Brady Jr.Edward L. FeightnerArthur Ray HawkinsAmanda LeeAnthony A. LessRobert L.

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