Updated June 1, 2018
At festivals, fairs, and events across America, The Blue Angels are a quintessential part of summer. These epic aviators create a great spectacle, boost morale, and are something to look forward to for families across the country. From their initial inception to the history behind their name, here are a few things you may not have known about the Blue Angels.
They Were The Second Formal Aerobatic Flying Crew in the World
Formed in the 1940’s to cultivate passion and grow interest in the Navy, The Blue Angels were the world’s second formal flying aerobatic team. The first was the Patrouille de France, which was the first of its kind formed in 1931. The Blue Angels’ first performance was in Omaha, Nebraska in 1946.
They’re Named After a Nightclub
When deciding on a name for the Blue Angel fleet, the namesake actually came from a New York night club. The original crew was planning a show in NYC and one member saw mention of New York’s famous Blue Angel night club in New Yorker Magazine. They decided to call their crew the Blue Angels, rather than keep their initial name, “The Navy Flight Exhibition Team.”
They Fly As Close Together as 18 Inches During Formations
While most of us would be skeptical to fly such fast planes in such close proximity to each other, Blue Angel pilots do so with ease. In their Diamond 360 maneuver, the planes can be as close to each other as as just a foot and a half.
They Reach Speeds of Up To 700 MPH While Performing
They Fly Themselves to All Shows
While it seems logical for these planes to fly themselves to each destination, flying from coast to coast is no quick trip for any plane. When the crew flew to Hawaii in 2010, they were accompanied by two tankers which refilled each plane ten times during the flight across the Pacific Ocean.
They Were the First U.S. Military Presence over Moscow Since the Cold War
In 2013, the Blue Angels became the first U.S. military planes to see the skies of Moscow since the Cold War. The crew performed on Moscow Day, in honor of the inception of the city.
Their First Female Pilot was Marines Captain Katie Higgins in 2015
It took 70 years for a female pilot to become a member of the Blue Angels, but Katie Higgins joined the team in 2015.
“Little girls have told me that they didn’t even know that ladies can fly aircraft, that women could be in the cockpit,” Captain Higgins told the Independent Journal Review in 2015.
She said she applied for the team not because she wanted to break barriers but because of her passion for flying. She tells anyone who is sceptic of her ability to fly a plane as well as the men to simply watch the demo.
“They can’t tell the difference between mine and the other two pilots on here because I fly it just as well as they do,” she said.
Pilots Must have at least 1,250 tactical jet hours to join the ranks
There is an extremely stringent screening process for all pilots hoping to join the Blue Angels. This includes over Navy and Marine aviators with 1200 tactical jet hours, a stringent interview process, and more.
They have performed for over 500 million people
Since their inception in the 1940’s, the Blue Angels have performed for over 500 million people. With summer shows across the country and performances in countries around the world, these planes are a well-loved attraction for people of all kinds.
They May Be Coming Soon to Your City
Its summertime, and that means it’s show season for the Blue Angels. Their summer schedule includes upcoming performances in New York, Pensacola, Milwaukee, Seattle and more.
Images courtesy of Pixabay.com.