Saturday Through My Lens: Blue Angels

This week's Saturday Through My Lens features the awesomeness of the Blue Angels, the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squad.

The Blue Angels

Normally at this point in the summer, we would have just returned from Pensacola and the Blues on the Beach air show.

Blues on the Beach, Pensacola Beach, Blue Angels

But the Blue Angels are grounded this year.  So no Blues on the Beach.

Blues on the Beach, air show, Pensacola Beach

Blues on the Beach, air show, Pensacola Beach

And even though we enjoyed the other planes at past shows, we made the decision not to go to this year's shows if there were no Blue Angels.

Blues on the Beach, air show, Pensacola Beach

Blues on the Beach, air show, Pensacola Beach

So I'm looking through photos I took at past shows and sharing them with you today.

Fat Albert, Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola Beach

 The Blue Angels show always starts with an appearance by the big guy!  Fat Albert is a C-130, the "operational workhorse of the team."  Fat Albert has a length of 99'5" and a wingspan of 132'7", and he reaches a cruising speed of 375mph.  He has a maximum take-off weight of 155,000 pounds.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

But the true stars of the show are the Blue Angels.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

 The Blue Angels currently fly the F/A 18- Blue Hornet.

Blue Angels, Blues on the Beach, air show

 The aircraft are removed from the combat fleet and modified with a smoke cannon, low-friction paint, and an additional fuel pump.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

The aircraft can fly to a combat ceiling of 50,000 feet and up to a speed of Mach 1.7+, about 1400 mph.  But the fastest they go during the show is 700mph, just under Mach 1.  It's during the Sneak Pass, where the lead solo scares the crap out of you if you don't know to watch for him.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

 The F/A 18 has a maximum rate of climb of 30,000 feet per minute.  The maximum height they reach during the show is about 15,000 feet during the Vertical Rolls by Opposing Solos.  The lowest height during the show is an incredible 50 feet during the Sneak Pass!

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

The "tricks" they do are breathtaking, and it is amazing to see the skill, precision, and daring of these incredible pilots.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

Blue Angels, Pensacola NAS, air show

 During one especially hairy part of the show, The Diamond 360, the planes come within 18 inches of each other.  Yep, INCHES.

Blue Angels, Blue Diamond, air show, Pensacola NAS

 I love the roar of the engines, the unbelievably loud rumble that you hear not only with your ears, but with your heart, your soul, your entire body and being.

Blue Angels, Pensacola NAS, air show

 It gives me a feeling of exhilaration, a sense of excitement, and a chest-swelling dose of national pride.

Blue Angels, Pensacola NAS, air show, transsonic condensation, PRANDTL-GLAUERT

They actually fly so fast that it somehow makes some sort of condensation on the wings and around the aircraft.  Dad explained it to me, and I even looked it up on the internet (PRANDTL-GLAUERT) but I still don't get it.

Blue Angels, Pensacola NAS, air show

I don't really care if I don't understand how it all works and how they do it all.  I just really, really enjoy watching them do it.

Blue Angels, air show, Pensacola NAS

So here's to hoping the economy picks back up!  For many many many reasons for many many many people.  But also because then the Blue Angels can fly again!

2014 Blues on the Beach, anyone?

All facts are courtesy of the Blue Angels website.

4 Replies to “Saturday Through My Lens: Blue Angels”

  1. Loved your story! I have a funny one! Every year the Blue Angels along with other military planes performed at Moffett Field naval base in November. One year we took my little brother for his birthday. When all the festivities were done, my brother asked my parents if the Blue Angels were going to do this every year for his birthday.

    1. Love that!! See those of us born in November understand that birthdays are supposed to be BIG celebrations…..really BIG celebrations. Remember Leslie-Palooza??

  2. Maybe it just in the family, cause I love to watch them too. I still get chills remembering one night you and I were a football game at the Rock at USM and the jets (I don’t remember which service branch) flew over the stadium and performed the missing man formation, with the last plane going straight up with the flames coming out. WOW!!!

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