How many of you have been to a Blue Angels show? If you haven't been, I suggest you go see them in action. You won't be disappointed.
The Blue Angels have been around for more than 60 years. Founded in 1946 they were originally known as the Navy Flight Exhibition Team. There goal was
to display the pride and professionalism of the US Navy and Marine Corps by only recruiting the best of the best.
They perform for over 11 million spectators annually and are in the air for most of the weekend from March until November. They operate on an annual
budget funded by the DOD of around $37 million.
Since their first show in 1946, there have been 35 flight leaders and 251 demonstration pilots. Applicants must have at least 1,250 hours of flying
time and understand that they are asked to do this as their career. Current team members take a vote on whether to accept any new team members and the
selection must be unanimously approved.
The average age of a Blue Angel pilot is 33 and they typically only serve 2-3 years on the squadron. The firs African-American member was Donnie
Cochran in 1986 and after a 7 year hiatus, returned as flight leader. In 2010, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Amy Redditt was the first women to join as Blue Angel
Another woman by the name Katie Higgens, joined the Blue Angels in July of 2014 and sometime this spring is expected to become the first female to
perform with the Angels while flying their C-130 cargo plane named "Fat Albert".
Their current flight commander is US Navy Capt. Thomas Frosch joined in 2012. He has had multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan accumulating over
3,800 flight hours and 830 carrier assisted landings.
Regardless of their achievements and amazing ability, there have been 26 members of the Blue Angels who were killed in action. This accounts for
approximately 10% of those who served and there has been only three fatalities in the last 30 years.
I hope you enjoyed the video and go out and give these guys and gals the credit they deserve. As good as they are, they still risk their lives to
bring entertainment and joy to families across the country. There are only a handful of people willing to do that and these birds do not
edit on 4/11/2015 by semperfortis because: (no reason given)
That video is certifiable insanity! From someone with little spatial orientation, watching this confirms that there is no way I would ever get into
one of those even if they paid me. I've been in lots of planes, but to get that close and personal with other planes like they do, ugh, ugh, no
thanks. Man, that is some crazy siht!
I was quite taken back by the amount of "Angels" that have passed. I guess no matter how good of a pilot you are, your survivability rests in the
hands of the less experienced. Not that any of them are inexperienced, but you know what I mean.
Some of it is the high G forces and that they don't wear G suits, the fact that they operate down where birds are, etc.
Back in the early 1980s all four Thunderbirds Diamond pilots were killed during practice. They were doing the line abreast loop and the lead couldn't
pull around on the bottom of the loop in time and impacted the ground. The other three never took their eyes off him, as they were trained to do, and
followed him right into the ground.
edit on 4/10/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)
And the fact that they've only had three deaths in the last thirty years means what? How have they altered their routine to avoid such a catastrophe?
Does it simply come down to poor leadership or judgment?
edit on 10-4-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)
No, better airfield management to help mitigate bird strike risk, better understanding of physiologic conditions and less stigma attached to not
flying because of what would normally be a minor sinus issue, improved maintenance procedures, better training in the Diamond...
The Thunderbirds didn't fly for a year afterwards. They used the time to transition to F-16s, but having to rebuild a team is a long and difficult
The Blue Angels lost a pilot a few years ago. If it happens during the season it can cancel the rest of that season. It takes months to train a new
pilot. Between getting the safety mentality, the timing of even walking together, learning to fly the show is incredibly difficult.
Having to replace a team member is hard on the other pilots because they have lived, worked, and traveled together for months. You trust your other
pilots more than anyone else. If they make a tiny mistake they can take out the entire Diamond.
Something very similar to that Thunderbirds incident almost happened with the Blues a couple years ago. Number 1 resigned after the show citing a
decline in performance if I am correct. No matter how much you try to prevent something like that from happening, there's always the risk.
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