Tag Archives: Blue Angels

Hawaii’s F-22 Raptors denied request to perform traditional Pearl Harbor flyover

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye memorial service in Hawaii

Even though they have been part of the Pearl Harbor ceremonies since decades, this year’s traditional flyover was not performed because of the restrictions “on all kinds of flyovers across the country”, imposed by the budget cuts.

After sequestration earlier this year grounded 17 active units, including the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, Pentagon decided towards the end of October that both demo team would resume their full 34 – 36 seasonal schedule in FY 2014.

However, public appearances will not include flyovers. The U.S. Air Force performed 1,000 flyovers each year but, following the spending review which cut some upgrade programs as well, it will not fly any flyover next year but some high-visibility ones by the Thunderbirds.

However, in spite of restrictions, some flyovers were actually flown in the last few months by Navy aircraft. One of the most spectacular ones was performed by the Blue Angels at the Army-Navy NCAA Game on Dec. 14.

Hence, it seems that the no-flyover policy is mainly an Air Force thing, and this would explain why F-22 Raptors from the 199th Fighter Squadron Hawaii Air National Guard and the 19th Fighter Squadron Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, were denied the Dec. 7 missing man flyover, even if, according to Hawaii News Now, at the same time they were involved in a 70K USD exercise and the flyover could have been performed at little cost.

Noteworthy, last year, an F-22 Raptor, of the Hawaii ANG scraped both horizontal stabilizers on the runway at Joint Base Pearl Harbor landing at its homebase after the missing man flyover.

A 1.8 million USD damage that may have contributed to the decision to deny the permission to perform this year’s Dec. 7 flyover.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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The impressive sight of the Blue Angels flyover at the NCAA Army-Navy game

Blue Angels flyover detail

On Dec. 14, 2013, the kickoff of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football game between the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy) and the U.S. Military Academy (Army) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia was preceded by a flyover of the Blue Angels.

Banner by the sequestrer, flyovers across the U.S. have been brought back and the image in this post shows why they can be considered the highlight of nationwide sport events.

Blue Angels flyover

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

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“Welcome to Russia, Blue Angels”: the first U.S. military presence over Moscow since the end of the Cold War

Blue Angels

The following video is part of a film called “Blue Angels: Around the World at the Speed of Sound”, realized to support the Blue Angels 1992 season.

The story behind it is very interesting and it is worth to be told.

Generally speaking, air shows across the world to represent the United States are flown by the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds. But in 1992 it was the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, that flew overseas for a series of air shows which included the first U.S. military presence in the skies over Moscow after the end of the cold war.

Obtaining the approval to go overseas was a hard thing for the Blue Angels Commanding Officer, Greg Wooldridge, who took command of the team in November 1990.

The team’s three main tasks are: to improve community relations, to enhance the morale of the folks already wearing the US Navy uniform and, the most important of all, to enhance recruiting in the Navy.

Since the Blue Angels mission is strictly linked to the Navy’s recruiting command, the team flight activity is mainly scheduled across the United States where there is more chance to improve recruitment.

Blue Angels

Image credit: U.S. Navy

However the 1992 tour saw the Blue Angels to perform in Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, England, Spain, Italy, Finland and Sweden: eight different countries in one month, in the first European tour in 19 years.

Since this trip would have brought not only the team, but also the United States military services in several former Soviet Block countries for the first time, during winter training, Woodbridge thought to go to Hollywood to find a producer to realize a film which should have had to support the Blue Angels tour.

He found Rob Stone who had just started his production company and since Woodbridge had no money for this kind of project, he told Stone that he would have to get his own funding to produce the documentary.

Stone and two of his guys went to the Blue Angels winter training and they filmed a movie hosted by the Hollywood star Dennis Quaid which is called “Blue Angels: Around the World at the Speed of Sound” which was showed across the United States for almost two years and then sold to the Discovery and History Channel.

Stone did a great job with this film since it gave to the Blue Angels some extra exposure enhancing Navy recruiting.

Once they were in the former Soviet Union, the Blue Angels pilots were given the opportunity to fly with one of the Russian frontline fighters, the Su-27 Flanker of the Russian Knights or the MiG-29 Fulcrum of the Swift, the two Russian demonstration teams, while the American pilots hosted the former Soviet pilots in the two seat Blue Angel F-18 Hornet.

The tour in the former Soviet Union was a huge success for the Blue Angels, the first foreign flight demonstration team to perform there: they flew a modified air show in Moscow Day to honor the anniversary of the birth of the city and Woodbridge discovered that from west to east, people loved them.

Noteworthy, mixed formations, including Blue Angels F-18 and Russian Su-27 and Mig-29 jets were flown during the Russian tour.

David Cenciotti has contributed to this post.

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Photo: Flames explode behind the Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornets at Miramar Air Show 2012

Flames seem to surround the U.S. Navy Blue Angels demo team’s F/A-18 Hornet jets during the night portion of the MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar air show 2012, on Oct. 13.

The Saturday “twilight” show, a fireworks display and the final “Great Wall of Fire” pyrotechnic display are common features of the annual Miramar air show.

Miramar is famous all around the world for being the base of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapon School, whose training program inspired Top Gun.

The NFWS, has moved to NAS Fallon, Nevada, in 1996.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

That's a low pass! Blue Angels Lead Solo at Pensacola Beach 2012

This is one of those pictures that don’t need much words.

Blue Angels #5, Lead Solo, Lieutenant C. J. Simonsen, performs a high speed low pass at Pensacola Beach 2012 airshow on Jul. 14.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr

To those readers who wonder whether it is safe to perform such flybys, I suggest to have a read at the following articles published last year: “Don’t do this at home: the Argentinean pilots braveness dispute” & “Argentine Air Force IA-63 Pampa crazy flyby uncensored cockpit video: an example of poor airmanship”.