This week’s Saturday Through My Lens features the awesomeness of the Blue Angels, the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squad.
Normally at this point in the summer, we would have just returned from Pensacola and the Blues on the Beach air show.
But the Blue Angels are grounded this year. So no Blues on the 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.
So I’m looking through photos I took at past shows and sharing them with you today.
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.
But the true stars of the show are the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels currently fly the F/A 18- Blue Hornet.
The aircraft are removed from the combat fleet and modified with a smoke cannon, low-friction paint, and an additional fuel pump.
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.
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!
The “tricks” they do are breathtaking, and it is amazing to see the skill, precision, and daring of these incredible pilots.
During one especially hairy part of the show, The Diamond 360, the planes come within 18 inches of each other. Yep, INCHES.
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.
It gives me a feeling of exhilaration, a sense of excitement, and a chest-swelling dose of national pride.
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.
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.
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.