Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blue Angels

John and Sandy picked us up at 1030 hours and we headed east on highway 98 with the destination being Pensacola Naval Air Station.  Each November the Air Station hosts its annual Air Show featuring the Blue Angels.  When they are not performing during the summer months, the Blue Angels practice at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.  Right after the Annual Air Show they head to Arizona for the winter months.

We arrived on the flight deck at 1150 hours and walked around some the static displays.  There were demonstrations by military aircraft as well as performances by private “stunt” pilots that began at 0930 hours and continued right up until the Blue Angels show time at 1400 hours.

The Blue Angels demonstration began with “Fat Albert” going through his paces.  “Fat Albert” is a Lockheed-Martin C-130T Hercules that also serves as the Blue Angels support/cargo plane as they travel about the country.  It has some very impressive performance attributes for an aircraft of its size; mainly its ability to land and take off from short unprepared runways. 

(Be sure to place the cursor over each picture for more information regarding each maneuver.)

Demonstrating A High Performance Take Off Flat PassParade Pass Parade Pass

The Blue Angel Team is made up of six F/A 18 Hornets that have been downgraded from the Naval Fleet which means that they are among the oldest F/A 18s in the Navy’s inventory.  These aircraft are no longer combat ready and are used exclusively for Air Show Demonstrations.

Blue Angels Ready For Departure Blue Angels' F/A 18 Hornet

Once in the air, most of the show alternates between maneuvers performed by the Blue Angel Diamond made up of four aircraft and maneuvers by the two Solos.  The Diamond goes through a series of formation loops, barrel rolls, and transitions from one formation to another.

The Diamond Formation Diamond Roll: The whole diamond formation rolls as a single entityDouble Farvel: Diamond formation flat pass with aircraft 1 and 4 inverted Diamond Dirty Loop: The diamond flies a loop with all 4 jets in the carrier landing configurationEchelon Parade Diamond 360: The Aircraft are in their signature 18" wingtip-to-canopy diamond formation

The Solos fly near the speed of sound while executing high-speed passes, fast rolls, and extremely tight turns.  They, also, make some slow passes and slow rolls as well.

Opposing Knife-Edge Pass Section High-Alpha Pass: (tail sitting)

One of the Solos joins up with the Diamond to fly several maneuvers utilizing five Angels.  The pictures below are of the Line-Abreast Loop – the most difficult formation maneuver to do well with 5 jets flying a loop in a straight line.

Starting The Line-Abreast Loop Completing The Line-Abreast Loop

Then toward the end of the show all six aircraft join together to fly in Delta formation.  The last two pictures are of the Loop Break Cross and the Delta Break.  After the Delta Break the aircraft fly in six different directions and perform half Cuban eights (turns) then cross at the center of the performance area.  They were moving way too fast for us to get any good pictures of them crossing, but it was an impressive sight.

The Delta Formation Another View Of The Delta FormationPerforming the Delta Roll Fleur de LisBegining The Loop Break Cross The Delta Breakout

Before we knew it, the demonstration had come to a conclusion with the Blue Angels returning to terra firma.  I made a series of pictures capturing one of the Angels landing.

The Approach FlairingTouch Down Breaking

This is the fifth or sixth time that we’ve seen the Blue Angles fly - It never gets old.  It takes a lot of expertise and training to fly an aircraft like that; very impressive to say the least.  And on top of all of that, the weather was absolutely fantastic; a great day for flying.  Hope you enjoyed the photographs of the Blue Angels Air Show demonstration.

Now it’s back to w*rk for a few days.  The weather is calling for rain on Monday so I need to finish washing the rig.  But, we do have another outing planned for right after the weather returns to “normal”; hopefully by mid week.

Take Care Until Next Time - - - - -


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Due to our work schedule here, we had to miss them perform.. Still on the to do list...

  2. Aren't they something!
    Very interesting. The descriptions on the pictures are very informative for those of us who don't know the lingo.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  3. Great photos. We were able to see that same show a couple of years ago. all I can say about it. Glad the weather was perfect for a what sounded like a perfect day.

    Don't stress yourself too much over all that rig washing...LOL