Friday 21 Feb 2020

Blue Angels Arrive For Airshow

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have arrived at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for Wings Over Wayne 2017! The team arrived after 5pm yesterday in Blue Angels fashion with formation flying, smoke, and jets peeling away from the formation to land.

With history dating back to the 1940’s, the Blue Angels travel around the country wowing spectators almost every weekend. Commander Frank Weisser, pilot of Blue Angel #5 and lead solo pilot, told us that fans should expect to see the Angels demonstrate the “pride and professionalism of the United States armed services.”

Weisser said the Blue Angels will fly low, high, fast, and slow, all to demonstrate the powerful capabilities of their F/A-18 Hornet fighter. Spectators can expect to see the four jet Diamond Formation, solo performances, and the grand finale six jet Delta Formation. The most impressive part about most of these formations? 18 inch separation. Less that two feet separating the multi-million dollar jets performing these stunts.

So what does it take to be a U.S. Navy Blue Angel pilot? A lot of time in a cockpit. Weisser said pilots are required to have over 1,200 flight hours before they can apply, which equates to five or six years flying. The selection process is long, but in the end is very rewarding. Weisser says they can’t take everyone out on an aircraft carrier to see the U.S. Navy at work, so performing at airshows is a great way to showcase their mission.

Outside the ridiculous stunts and fast flying action, the Blue Angels are also known for their precision and attention to detail– all the way down to the uniform. Both pilots and maintainers on the demonstration team have memorized carefully scripted actions and movements. Their uniforms are specially fitted and the pilots don’t wear g-suits like most fighter pilots. A g-suit is a flight suit designed to help the body keep blood to the brain in extreme g-force situations. For the Blue Angel pilots, they have to maintain muscle control techniques to avoid passing out. The control stick in a Blue Angel jet is also specially outfitted with a spring to keep constant pressure on the flight controls, allowing more precise movements, but also forcing pilots to counteract the tension of the spring. Weisser said its the equivalent of doing a 40 pound curl during the entire flight!

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be performing Saturday and Sunday at 3pm during Wings Over Wayne. Wings Over Wayne is a free event and more information as well as a full schedule can be found at the Wings Over Wayne website!

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