Kennedy Space Center Air Show , Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA
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A is for AVIATION
The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.
The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, ordered the establishment of the team on April 24, 1946. The name was picked by the original team when they were planning a show in New York in 1946. One of them came across the name of the city’s famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker Magazine. An estimated 11 million spectators view the squadron during air shows each year. Additionally, the Blue Angels visit more than 50,000 people a show season (March through November) during school and hospital visits.
Each applicant must be career-oriented, carrier-qualified, active-duty Navy or Marine Corps tactical jet pilot with a minimum of 1,250 flight hours. Navy and Marine Corps pilots meeting the basic requirements submit an application directly to the team via the Applications Officer. Applicants visit the squadron at scheduled show sites early in the show season to observe the team firsthand. Finalists are selected mid-season and interviewed at the Blue Angels’ squadron in Pensacola, Florida. The new demonstration pilots and support officers are selected by unanimous vote. The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the Flight Leader/Commanding Officer.
To be able to perform, the Blue Angels must have at least three nautical miles of visibility horizontally from centerpoint, and a minimum cloud ceiling of 1,500 feet which the FAA can waive to 1,000 feet. At these minimums, the Blue Angels can perform a limited number of maneuvers in what is called a “flat” show. When the ceiling is at least 4,500 feet and visibility at least three nautical miles a “low” show can be performed, which includes some rolling maneuvers. With a minimum ceiling of 8,000 feet and visibility of three nautical miles, the Blue Angels can perform their “high” show, which includes all maneuvers. The closest the diamond will fly to each other is 18 inches during the Diamond 360 maneuver. The highest is the vertical rolls performed by the Opposing Solo (up to 15,000 feet) and the lowest is the Sneak Pass (50 feet) performed by the Lead Solo. The fastest speed is about 700 mph (just under Mach 1; Sneak Pass) and the slowest speed is about 120 mph (indicated speed; Section High Alpha), both flown by the solo pilots during the show.
The Blue Angels currently have 10 jets: two single seat F/A-18 A models, five single seat F/A-18 C models, one 2-seat F/A-18 B and two 2-seat F/A-18 D models. The Blue Angel F/A-18s have the nose cannon removed, a smoke-oil tank installed and a spring installed on the stick which applies pressure for better formation and inverted flying. Otherwise, the aircraft that the squadron flies are the same as those in the fleet. Each Blue Angel aircraft is fleet capable of being returned to combat duty aboard an aircraft carrier within 72 hours.
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2982 views ~ 07/13/2011