A day in the life
… at the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show
In this 2018 season, the Blue Angels flew over 60 air shows across the country. They begin their season with their show on Pensacola Beach and always end their season by doing a Homecoming Show at NAS ( Naval Air Station ) Pensacola. This is the first show we’ve been able to attend in the last couple of years and the weather cooperated beautifully for us. The temperature was in the mid-70s and there was a slight warm breeze. The homecoming show is always on the Navy Base and is a completely different show than the Pensacola Beach season starter. The base show has several planes, helicopters, and exhibits to experience. Besides all the giveaways, the Navy Museum Gift Shop and the Navy Exchange have lots of souvenirs for sale. There was even a race between a rocket truck and an airplane. I couldn’t get a picture of that. They went too fast and there was lots of flames and smoke.
Some of the exhibits
I did a little research to find out the history of the Blue Angels. One thing you need to know is that a Marine can also be a pilot and pilots can be male or female but the pilots to be the cream of the crop.
At the end of World War Two, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Nimitz, wanted to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation and ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team. In June of 1946 the Blue Angels performed their first demonstration at their home base, NAS Jacksonville, Florida. At that time, they flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The Blue Angels were based at a couple different Navy Bases, but in 1954 they moved to NAS Pensacola where they are today and are flying the F/A 18 Hornet.
The Blue Angels aren’t the only planes flying at the air show. I cannot remember the names of every type of plane that we saw. I do have some pictures and I think I have them marked correctly. When they’re flying at a minimum of 350 miles an hour, you just keep aiming and snapping pictures hoping you get something. The pictures I was taking of the original training planes turned out to be nothing but blue sky. I do know they were single-engine yellow planes. And, the announcer referred to them as the yellow trainer planes.
There were also stunt pilots. I do have a picture of one pilot who landed his plane on top of a pickup truck and then took off from there again. Below you can see it on top of the truck.
There were some parachuters who brought the American flag down with them.
And circling them while they did it was another stunt pilot
During WWII, The P-51 Mustang was considered the top plane flown in combat at that time.
We saw a demonstration of the Mustang flying about as fast as it could go next to a Hornet going about as slow as it could go. That was pretty cool to see.
The Air Force now has the Martin Lockheed F-22 Raptor, pictured below, that because of Pilot Super Maneuverability is called the world’s most capable fighter plane.
The Blue Angels gave another great demonstration. It was pointed out that when they fly many of their formations they are only 18 inches apart. For most of us that is about the length from your elbow to your fingertips!
I was able to get a few pictures of the Blue Angels as they flew by and one picture before they got started.
And, no show is complete without the most famous transport plane, Fat Albert. This is the Marine Corps Lockheed C130T Hercules plane that carries spare parts, equipment and support personnel between shows.
You can go online and find the 2019 Blue Angels schedule. Hopefully, you can make it to a show near you.