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U.S. Navy Blue Angels Jet Crashes

The Blue Angels, https://pilotgamzix.com/ 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 group, composed of six Navy and one Marine Corps demonstration pilot, fly Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets.

The Blue Angels sometimes carry out aerial shows in a minimum of 60 exhibits annually at 30 areas throughout the United States and two reveals at one location in Canada.[2] The “Blues” still employ many of the same practices and strategies used within the inaugural 1946 season. An estimated 11 million spectators view the squadron throughout air exhibits from March via November each year. Members of the Blue Angels team additionally visit more than 50,000 folks in faculties, hospitals, and group capabilities at air show cities.[3] Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 505 million spectators.[4]

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


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

Air exhibits[edit]

The “Blues” carry out at each navy and non-navy airfields, and infrequently at main U.S. cities and capitals; additionally places in Canada are sometimes included within the air show schedule.

During their aerobatic demonstration, the six-member group flies F/A-18 Hornets,[8] break up 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 performed by the Diamond Formation and people performed by the Solos. The Diamond, in tight formation and often at lower speeds (four hundred mph), performs maneuvers equivalent to formation loops, rolls, and transitions from one formation to another. The Solos showcase the high efficiency capabilities of their particular person aircraft via the execution of high-speed passes, sluggish passes, fast rolls, sluggish rolls, and really tight turns. The best velocity flown during an air present is 700 mph (just below Mach 1) and the bottom velocity, is 126 mph (a hundred and ten knots) during Section High Alpha with the new Super Hornet (about a hundred and fifteen knots with the outdated “Legacy” Hornet). Among the maneuvers include both solo aircraft performing without delay, such as opposing passes (toward each other in what appears to be a collision course) and mirror formations (back-to-back, belly-to-stomach, or wingtip-to-wingtip, with one jet flying inverted). The Solos be a part of the Diamond Formation near the tip of the present for quite a lot of maneuvers within the Delta Formation.

The parameters of every present must be tailored in accordance with native weather situations at showtime: in clear weather the high show is performed; in overcast conditions a low present is carried out, and in restricted visibility (weather permitting) the flat present is introduced. The high present requires no less than an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) ceiling and visibility of at least three nautical miles (6 km) from the present’s middle point. The minimal ceilings allowed for low and flat exhibits are 4,500 feet, and 1,500 ft respectively.[9]


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

In August 2018, Boeing was awarded a contract to convert nine single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornets and two F/A-18F two-seaters for Blue Angels use. Modifications to every F/A-18E/F include removal of the weapons and substitute with a tank that comprises smoke-oil used in demonstrations and outfitting the management follow a spring system for more precise aircraft control input. Control sticks are tensioned with forty pounds (18 kg) of pressure to allow the pilot minimal room for non-commanded movement of the aircraft. Each modified F/A-18 remains within the fleet and could be returned to fight obligation aboard an aircraft carrier within seventy two hours.[10] As converted aircraft had been delivered, they had been used for testing maneuvers starting in mid 2020.[11][12] The crew’s Super Hornets grew to become operational by the start 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 point out sites. The Blues use these jets for backups, and to present demonstration rides to VIP (civilians). Usually, two again seats rides can be found at every air show; one goes to a member of the press, and the opposite to the “Key Influencer”.[9] The No. 4 slot pilot often flies the No. 7 aircraft in Friday’s “observe” so that pilots from the fleet and future workforce members can experience the show.

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

Team members[edit]

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

All crew members, both officer and enlisted, pilots and employees officers, come from the ranks of standard Navy and United States Marine Corps items. 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 keeping with team wants, pilot expertise ranges, and profession concerns for members. Other officers within the squadron embody a naval flight officer who serves as the occasions coordinator, three USMC C-130 pilots, an executive officer, a upkeep officer, a supply officer, a public affairs officer, an administrative officer, and a flight surgeon. Enlisted members range from E-4 to E-9 and carry out all upkeep, administrative, and assist features. They serve three to 4 years within the squadron.[3] After serving with the squadron, members return to fleet assignments.

The officer selection course of requires pilots and support officers (flight surgeon, events coordinator, upkeep officer, supply officer, and public affairs officer) wishing to change into Blue Angels to use formally by way of their chain-of-command, with a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and flight records. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 demonstration pilots and naval flight officers are required to have a minimal 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 workforce at a number of airshows, paid out of their own funds, and sit in on staff briefs, submit-present actions, and social events. It’s vital that new officers fit the present tradition and team dynamics. The appliance and analysis process runs from March by way of early July, culminating with extensive finalist interviews and team deliberations. Team members vote in secret on the subsequent yr’s officers. Selections must be unanimous. There have been feminine and minority workers officers as Blue Angel members,[18] together with minority Blue Angel pilot Lt. Andre Webb on the 2018 team. Flight surgeons serve a two-yr time period. The flight surgeon offers crew medical services, evaluates demonstration maneuvers from the ground, and participates in every put up-flight debrief. The first feminine Blue Angel flight surgeon was Lt. Tamara Schnurr, who was a member of the 2001 staff.[19]

The Flight Leader (No. 1) is the commanding officer and all the time holds the rank of commander, and could also be promoted to captain mid-tour if permitted by the selection 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, after which typically flies Opposing and then Lead Solo the following two years, respectively. The No. Three pilot strikes to the No. 4 (slot) place for his or her second 12 months. Blue Angel No. 4 serves because the demonstration security officer, due largely to the angle they are afforded from the slot place within the formation, as well as their status as a second-yr demonstration pilot. The primary woman named to the Blue Angels as F/A-18 demonstration pilot was Lt. Amanda Lee, who is a member of the 2023 workforce.[20]

Commander Alexander P. Armatas is a local 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 greater than 4,one hundred flight hours and 911 service-arrested landings. His decorations embrace the Meritorious Service Medal, four Strike/Flight Air Medals, 5 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and varied private, unit and repair awards. [21]

Training and weekly routine[edit]

Annual winter training takes place at NAF El Centro, California, the place new and returning pilots hone abilities realized in the fleet. During winter training, the pilots fly two observe periods per day, six days every week, to fly the a hundred and twenty training missions needed to perform the demonstration safely. The separation between the formation of aircraft and their maneuver altitude is progressively lowered over the course of about two months in January and February. The staff then returns to their house base in Pensacola, Florida, in March, and continues to apply all through the present season. Despite all their winter training, the Blue Angels group work effortlessly to make an impression within the communities they go to as nicely. A typical week during the season has practices at NAS Pensacola on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The workforce then flies to its present venue for the upcoming weekend on Thursday, conducting “circle and arrival” orientation maneuvers upon arrival. The workforce flies a “practice” airshow on the show site on Friday. This present is attended by invited guests however is often open to most people. The primary airshows are carried out on Saturdays and Sundays, with the staff returning residence to NAS Pensacola on Sunday evenings after the present. Monday is an off day for the Blues’ demonstration pilots and street crew. Extensive aircraft upkeep is carried out on Sunday evening and Monday by upkeep staff members.

Pilots maneuver the flight stick to their proper hand and operate the throttle with their left. They do not wear G-fits as a result of the air bladders inside repeatedly deflate and inflate, growing the chance of unintentional motion. To compensate for the lack of G-fits, Blue Angel pilots have developed a way for tensing their muscles to prevent blood from pooling in their lower extremities, probably rendering them unconscious.[22]



The Blue Angels have been initially formed in April 1946 as the Navy Flight Exhibition Team.[23] They modified their identify to the Blue Angels after seeing an commercial for the brand new York nightclub The Blue Angel, also known as the Blue Angel Supper Club, in the brand new Yorker Magazine.[24][25] The group was first introduced because the Blue Angels throughout an air show in July 1946.[26]

The primary Blue Angels demonstration aircraft wore navy blue (nearly black) with gold lettering. The current shades of blue and yellow have been adopted when the first 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 throughout the 1949 show season.[27]

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

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

The Blue Angels demonstration groups started sporting leather jackets and particular colored flight fits with the Blue Angels insignia, in 1952. In 1953, they began sporting gold coloured flight suits for the primary present 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 had been established as a Navy flight exhibition staff on 24 April 1946 by order of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz to generate higher public support of naval aviation. To boost Navy morale, exhibit naval air power, and maintain public curiosity in naval aviation, an underlying mission was to assist the Navy generate public and political help for a bigger allocation of the shrinking defense funds. Rear Admiral Ralph Davison personally selected Lieutenant Commander Roy Marlin “Butch” Voris, a World War II fighter ace, to assemble and prepare a flight demonstration crew, naming him Officer-in-Charge and Flight Leader. Voris chosen three fellow instructors to affix him (Lt. Maurice “Wick” Wickendoll, Lt. Mel Cassidy, and Lt. Cmdr. Lloyd Barnard, veterans of the War in the Pacific), and they spent numerous hours developing the show. The group perfected its preliminary maneuvers in secret over the Florida Everglades so that, in Voris’ phrases, “if anything occurred, just the alligators would know”. The first four pilots and those after them, had been and are some of one of the best and most skilled aviators in the Navy.[34]

The group’s first demonstration with Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat aircraft took place before Navy officials on 10 May 1946 and was met with enthusiastic approval. The United States Navy’s Blue Angels carried out their first air present at what is now JaxEx (previously Craig Municipal Airport, one among 6 airports in the Jacksonville, FL space developed for army coaching), on June 15, 1946. [35]The exhibition staff 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), specifically modified to scale back weight and painted sea blue with gold leaf trim, by way of 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 series of musical satires, set to the tune (in part) of the William Tell Overture as a thoroughbred horse race scene, with “Beetle Bomb” being the “trailing horse” within the lyrics.

The workforce thrilled spectators with low-flying maneuvers carried out in tight formations, and (in accordance with Voris) by “protecting one thing in entrance 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 facet issues. I felt that if we weren’t the most effective, it would be my naval career.” The Blue Angels’ first public demonstration additionally netted the staff its first trophy, which sits on show at the group’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 as the Blue Angels.[36] The name had originated through a suggestion by Right Wing Pilot Lt. Maurice “Wick” Wickendoll, after he had read concerning the Blue Angel nightclub in The brand new Yorker magazine. After ten appearances with the Hellcats, the Hellcats were replaced by the lighter, faster, and extra powerful F8F-1 Bearcats on 25 August.[36] By the top of the year the workforce consisted of four Bearcats numbered 1-four on the tail sections.

In May 1947, flight leader Lt. Cmdr. Bob Clarke changed Butch Voris as the leader of the team. The workforce with an additional fifth pilot, relocated to Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas. On 7 June at Birmingham, Alabama, four F8F-1 Bearcats (numbered 1-4) flew in diamond formation for the primary time which is now considered 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 group 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 show dogfights with the Bearcats. The identify “Blue Angels” also was painted on the Bearcats.[37]

In 1949, the crew acquired a Douglas R4D Skytrain for logistics to and from present websites. The group’s SNJ was additionally changed by another Bearcat, painted yellow for the air fight routine, inheriting the “Beetle Bomb” nickname. In May, the team went to the west coast on short-term obligation so the pilots and the remainder of the team may turn into accustomed to jet aircraft.[34] On thirteen July, the workforce acquired, and started flying the straight-wing Grumman F9F-2B Panther between demonstration exhibits.[38] On 20 August, the crew debuted the panther jets under 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 earlier than the principle show, till it crashed on takeoff at a training present 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, announced 14 July 1949.[41]


The Blue Angels pilots continued to carry out nationwide in 1950. On 25 June, the Korean War started, and all Blue Angels pilots[42] volunteered for fight duty. The squadron (attributable to a scarcity of pilots, and no available planes) and its members were ordered to “fight-ready standing” after an exhibition at Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas on 30 July.[34] The Blue Angels had been disbanded,[36] and its pilots have been reassigned to a carrier. Once aboard the aircraft provider USS Princeton on 9 November, the group formed the core of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-19), “Satan’s Kittens”, under 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 have been ordered to re-activate as a flight demonstration crew, and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Lt. Cdr. Voris was again tasked with assembling the workforce (he was the first of solely two commanding officers to guide them twice). In May 1952, the Blue Angels began performing again with F9F-5 Panthers[44] at an airshow in Memphis, Tennessee.[34] In 1953, the crew traded its Sky Train for a Curtiss R5C Commando. In August, “Blues” leader LCDR Ray Hawkins turned the primary naval aviator to outlive an ejection at supersonic speeds when a new F9F-6 he was piloting turned uncontrollable on a cross-nation flight.[45][46][47] After summer season, the crew started demonstrating with F9F-6 Cougar.

In 1954, the first Marine Corps pilot, Captain Chuck Hiett, joined the Navy flight demonstration workforce.[48] The Blue Angels additionally obtained special colored flight fits.[36] In May, the Blue Angels carried out at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., with the Air Force Thunderbirds (activated 25 May 1953).[49] The Blue Angels began relocating to their current home at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida that winter,[50] and it was here they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar. In December, the group left its home base for its first winter training facility at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California[51]

In September 1956, the group added a sixth aircraft to the flight demonstration in the Opposing Solo place,[52] and gave its first performance outside the United States at 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-8 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, and then the lengthy-nosed variations. The demonstration workforce (with added Angel 6) wore gold flight suits during the first air show that season.

In 1958, the first Six-Plane Delta Maneuvers were added that season.[citation wanted]


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 individuals.

In 1965, the Blue Angels conducted a Caribbean island tour, flying at five websites. Later that year, they embarked on a European tour to a dozen websites, together with the Paris Air Show, the place they have been the only group to receive a standing ovation.

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

In 1968, the C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft was changed with a Lockheed VC-121J Constellation. The Blues transitioned to the two-seat McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II in 1969, practically all the time holding 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 (the “Birds”). That year in addition 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 12 months, they went on their first South American tour.

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

In 1972, the Blue Angels have been awarded the Navy’s Meritorious Unit Commendation for the 2-yr period from 1 March 1970 to 31 December 1971. Another European tour adopted in 1973, including air reveals 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 extra on Navy recruiting.

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

Beginning in 1975, “Bert” was used for Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and quick aerial demonstrations just previous to the main event at chosen venues, but the JATO demonstration ended in 2009 as a result of dwindling provides 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 2 more years with the squadron flying the left wing-man place in the No. 3 A-4F fighter, and returned to command the Blue Angels in 1995 and 1996.[61]

On 8 November 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary yr during ceremonies unveiling what would be their aircraft via their 75th anniversary 12 months, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The ability and aerodynamics of the Hornet allows them to carry out a sluggish, high angle of attack “tail sitting” maneuver, and to fly a “dirty” (landing gear down) formation loop.[62][63]


Today is a very special and memorable day in your military career that may remain with you all through your lifetime. You could have survived the ultimate check of your peers and have proven to be utterly deserving to wear the crest of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The prestige of carrying the Blue Angels uniform carries with it an extraordinary honor – one which displays not only on you as an individual, but on your teammates and your entire squadron. To the crowds at the air exhibits and to the general public at hospitals and faculties nationwide, you might be an emblem of the Navy and Marine Corps’ most interesting. You carry pride, hope and a promise for tomorrow’s Navy and Marine Corps in the smiles and handshakes of right now’s youth. Remember immediately because the day you turned 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 who wear 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-lengthy European tour, their first in 19 years, conducting exhibits in Sweden, Finland, Russia (first overseas flight demonstration crew to perform there), Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

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

On 8 October 1999, the Blue Angels lost two pilots. LCDR Kieron O’Connor and LT Kevin Colling had been returning from a observe flight before an air show when their F/A-18B crashed in a wooded area of south Georgia.[65]


In 2000, the Navy was conducting investigations in regard and related to the lack of two Blue Angels pilots in October 1999. The pilots of the F/A-18 Hornet weren’t required to put on and don’t wear g-suits.[citation needed]

In 2006, the Blue Angels marked their 60th yr of performing.[66] On 30 October 2008, a spokesman for the staff introduced that the team would complete its final three performances of the 12 months with five jets as an alternative of six. The change was as a result of one pilot and another officer in the group had been removed from responsibility for engaging in an “inappropriate relationship”. The Navy mentioned one of the people was a man and the other a lady, one a Marine and the other from the Navy, and that Rear Admiral Mark Guadagnini, chief of Naval air coaching, was reviewing the situation.[67] At the following efficiency at Lackland Air Force Base following the announcement the No. Four or slot pilot, was absent from the formation. A spokesman for the crew wouldn’t verify the identity of the pilot removed from the workforce.[68] On 6 November 2008, both officers have been discovered responsible at an admiral’s mast on unspecified expenses however the resulting punishment was not disclosed.[69] The names of the two members concerned were later released on the Pensacola News Journal website/forum as pilot No. Four 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 lost control of the No. 6 jet and crashed resulting from G-pressure-induced lack of consciousness (G-LOC) during an air show at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina.[71]

The Fat Albert performed its final JATO demonstration at the 2009 Pensacola Homecoming show, expending their eight remaining JATO bottles. This demonstration not solely was the last JATO efficiency of the squadron, but also the final 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 on 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 lower than the required minimal.[74] The maneuver was aborted, the remainder of the demonstration canceled and all aircraft landed safely. The subsequent day, the Blue Angels introduced that they were initiating a safety stand-down, canceling their upcoming Naval Academy Airshow and returning to their dwelling base in Pensacola, Florida, for added training 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 were canceling their 28-29 May 2011 performances on the Millville Wings and Wheels Airshow in Millville, New Jersey.

On 27 May 2011, the Blue Angels introduced that Commander Dave Koss, the squadron’s commanding officer, can be stepping down. He was changed by Captain Greg McWherter, the workforce’s earlier commanding officer.[76] The squadron canceled performances at the Rockford, Illinois Airfest 4-5 June and the Evansville, Indiana Freedom Festival Air Show 11-12 June to allow additional practice and demonstration coaching under McWherter’s management.[76]

On 29 July 2011, a new Blue Angels Mustang GT was auctioned off for $400,000 on the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh (Oshkosh Air Show) annual summer gathering of aviation enthusiasts 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 typical JP-5 jet gas and a camelina-primarily based biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.[79] McWherter flew an F/A-18 check flight on 17 August and said there have been no noticeable differences in efficiency from inside the cockpit.[80][81]

On 1 March 2013, the U.S. Navy introduced that it was cancelling remaining 2013 performances after 1 April 2013 as a result of sequestration budget constraints.[82][83] In October 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, stating that “community and public outreach is an important Departmental activity”, 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 number of flyovers will proceed to be severely reduced.[84]

On 15 March 2014, the demonstration pilots numbered 1-7 wore gold flight fits to have a good time the workforce’s “return to the skies” during their first air present 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 first female pilot to hitch the Blue Angels, flying the help aircraft Fat Albert for the 2015 and 2016 show seasons.[86]

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

On 2 June 2016, Capt. Jeff Kuss, an Opposing Solo, died just after takeoff whereas performing the Split-S maneuver in his Hornet during a observe run for The great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee. The Navy’s investigation discovered that Capt. Kuss had carried out the maneuver too low whereas failing to retard the throttle out of afterburner, causing him to fall too quick and get better too low above the bottom. Capt. Kuss ejected, but his parachute was instantly engulfed in flames, inflicting him to fall to his demise. Kuss’ body was recovered simply yards away from the crash site. The cause of demise was blunt force trauma to the top. The investigation additionally cited weather and pilot fatigue as additional causes of the crash. In a strange twist, Captain Kuss’ fatal crash happened hours after the Blue Angels’ fellow pilots within the United States Air Force Thunderbirds suffered a crash of their own, following the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony earlier that day. Capt. Jeff Kuss was replaced by Cmdr. Frank Weisser to complete out the 2016 and 2017 seasons.[citation needed]

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 changed 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 multiple US cities as a tribute to healthcare and entrance line staff.[90]

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

In July 2022, Lt. Amanda Lee was introduced as the primary girl to function a demonstration pilot within the Blue Angels.[20][93]

Aircraft timeline[edit]

The “Blues” have flown ten completely different demonstration aircraft and six assist aircraft models:[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 1954/55 – 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-current

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

Air show routine[edit]

The 2022 Blue Angels High Show Routine:

– Fat Albert (C-130) – excessive-efficiency takeoff (Low Transition)- Fat Albert – Parade Pass (The airplane banks around the front of the crowd.)- 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 – both a low transition with turn, 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 touchdown configuration with No. 5 inverted, establishing a “mirror picture” impact- Diamond Dirty Loop – the diamond flies a loop with all four jets in provider touchdown 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 pass with No. 1 and No. Four inverted- Opposing Minimum Radius Turn- Echelon Parade- Opposing Horizontal Rolls- Changeover Roll – a left Echelon barrel roll where the echelon formation modifications over to diamond formation after 90° off bank.- Sneak Pass – the quickest pace of the show, just under Mach 1 (about 700 mph at sea level)- Line-Abreast Loop – probably the most troublesome formation maneuver to do nicely (No. 5 joins the diamond because the five 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 show’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 directions, perform half Cuban Eights then cross in the center of the performance space.)- Delta Breakout- Delta Pitch Up Carrier Break to LandCommanding officers[edit]

Notable Commanding Officers include;

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 present

Notable members[edit]

Below are among 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 grew to become Vice Chief of Naval Operations and a White House FellowKatie Higgins Cook First female 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 group.[126][127] Four different pilots died in fight motion after their service with the Blue Angels.[126]


– Lt. Ross “Robby” Robinson – 29 September 1946: killed throughout a performance 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 one other Panther jet throughout 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 brand new Blue Angels leader.[129]- Lt. Anton M. Campanella (#3 Left Wing) – 14 June 1960: killed flying a Grumman F-11A Tiger that crashed into the water close to Fort Morgan, Alabama throughout a check flight.[128]- Lt. George L. Neale – 15 March 1964: killed during an attempted emergency touchdown at Apalach Airport near Apalachicola, Florida. Lt. Neale’s F-11A Tiger had experienced mechanical difficulties during a flight from West Palm Beach, to Naval Air Station Pensacola, causing him to attempt the emergency touchdown. Failing to reach the airport, he ejected from the aircraft on remaining approach, but his parachute did not have enough time to totally deploy.[130]- Lt. Cmdr. Dick Oliver – 2 September 1966: crashed his F-11A Tiger and was killed on the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto.- Lt Frank Gallagher – 1 February 1967: killed when his F-11A Tiger stalled throughout a observe Half Cuban Eight maneuver and spun into the ground.- Capt. Ronald Thompson – 18 February 1967: killed when his F-11A Tiger struck the ground throughout a observe formation loop.- Lt. Bill Worley (Opposing Solo) – 14 January 1968: killed when his Tiger crashed during a practice double Immelmann.- Lt. Larry Watters – 14 February 1972: killed when his F-4J Phantom II struck the ground, upright, while working towards inverted flight, throughout winter coaching at NAF El Centro.- Lt. Cmdr. Skip Umstead (Team Leader), Capt. Mike Murphy, and ADJ1 Ron Thomas (Crew Chief) – 26 July 1973: all three were killed in a mid-air collision between two Phantoms over Lakehurst, New Jersey, throughout an arrival observe. 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 throughout follow.- Lt. Michael Curtin – 8 November 1978: one of the solo Skyhawks struck the ground 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 ground during winter training at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, simply after a dirty loop.- Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gershon (Opposing Solo #6) – 13 July 1985: his Skyhawk collided with Lt. Andy Caputi (Lead Solo #5) during a present at Niagara Falls, Gershon was killed and Caputi ejected and parachuted to safety.[131]- Lt. Cmdr. Kieron O’Connor and Lt. Kevin Colling – 28 October 1999: flying in the again seat and entrance seat of a Hornet, both have been killed after putting the bottom throughout circle and arrival maneuvers in Valdosta, Georgia.[132]- Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis – 21 April 2007: crashed his Hornet near the tip 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 just after takeoff while performing the Split-S maneuver in his F/A-18 Hornet during a follow 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 present in Clarence, New York. The Grumman F-eleven Tiger landed on Runway 23, however exited airport property, coming to relaxation within the intersection of Genesee Street and Dick Road, nearly hitting a filling station. Lt. Dewenter was uninjured, but the aircraft was a total loss.- Lt. Ernie Christensen – 30 August 1970: stomach-landed his F-4J Phantom on the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after he inadvertently left the touchdown gear in the up position.[134] He ejected safely, whereas the aircraft slid off the runway.- Cmdr. Harley Hall – four June 1971: safely ejected after his F-4J Phantom jet caught fire during apply 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 – 8 March 1973: all three survived a multi-aircraft mid-air collision during practice over Superstition Mountain, close to El Centro, California.- Lt. Jim Ross (Lead Solo) – April 1980: unhurt when his Skyhawk suffered a gasoline line fireplace throughout a show at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico. Lt. Ross stayed with the aircraft and landed, leaving the end 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 dual engine flame-out during follow close to El Centro, California.- Marine Corps Maj. Charles Moseley and Cmdr. Pat Moneymaker – 23 January 1990: their Blue Angel Hornets suffered a mid-air collision throughout a practice at El Centro. Moseley ejected safely and Moneymaker was in a position to land his airplane, which then required a complete proper wing alternative.[136]- Lt. Ted Steelman – 1 December 2004: ejected from his F/A-18 roughly one mile off Perdido Key after his aircraft struck the water, suffering catastrophic engine and structural damage. He suffered minor injuries.[137]Combat casualties[edit]

Four former Blue Angels pilots have been killed in motion or died after being captured, all having been downed by anti-aircraft hearth.[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 whereas leading a low-stage strike mission against North Korean and Chinese communist positions at Tanchon which earned him the Navy Cross during the Korean War.[139] He also 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 hearth in North Vietnam and crashed in his F-8E Crusader during the Vietnam struggle.[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 hearth, crashed, and died during his second tour within the Vietnam conflict. 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 hearth in South Vietnam flying their F-4J Phantom II on the final day of the Vietnam War, and so they both have been formally listed as prisoners of war. In 1980, Hall was presumed to have died whereas captured.[143][144][145] His remains had been identified on 6 September 1994.[146]In the media[edit]

The Blue Angels was a dramatic television sequence, 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 movie, written by Dune creator Frank Herbert, that includes the group in apply and efficiency during their F-4J Phantom period; lots of the aerial pictures methods pioneered in Threshold have been later used in the movie Top Gun.[148]To Fly!, a short IMAX movie featured at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum since its 1976 opening features footage from a camera on a Blue Angels A4 Skyhawk tail because the pilot performs in a present.[149]- In 2005, the invention Channel aired a documentary miniseries, Blue Angels: A Year within the Life, focusing on the intricate day-to-day particulars of that yr’s training and efficiency schedule.[150][151]- In 2009, MythBusters enlisted assistance from Blue Angels to assist test the parable that a sonic boom could shatter glass.[152]Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds is a 4-disc SkyTrax DVD set 2012 Topics Entertainment, Inc. It options highlights from airshows performed within the United States shot from inside and out of doors the cockpit together with interviews of squadron aviators, plus aerial combat footage taken during Desert Storm, histories of the 2 flying squadrons from 1947 via 2008 together with on-display screen notes on adjustments in Congressional budgeting and analysis program funding, photograph gallery slideshow, and two “forward-wanting” sequences Into the 21st 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 11 December 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012.^ “Flight Teams, 1949-1973 pictures”. Blue Angels Association. Archived from the unique on 23 March 2019. Retrieved sixteen March 2019.^ D’Costa, Ian (11 April 2015). “When the Blue Angels Went to War”. TACAIRNET. Retrieved four March 2019.^ Moon, Troy (3 July 2017). “Pensacola son remembers father – a Navy pilot and Blue Angel – 50-year after tragic dying”. 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 sixteen March 2019.^ “Harley Hubert Hall”. The Virtual Wall, Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Retrieved eleven March 2019.^ “Harley Hall:Vietnam POW (carrying gold flight swimsuit-1971)”. OPB Tv/Radio. Archived from the original on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2019.^ “Hall, Harley Hubert”. POW Network. Retrieved 11 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 within the Life Archived 11 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 unimaginable flight aboard the Blue Angels” By Charles Atkeison Archived 16 January 2013 at archive.at the momentBlue 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 webpage, 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 links[edit]

Blue Angels, official U.S. Navy web site Archived 2 March 2000 at 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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