Saw this one and couldn’t resist!
It’s nine minutes long, but well worth it for the commentary if nothing else.
From the Blues website-
In 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. In the 1940’s, we thrilled audiences with our precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950’s, we refined our demonstration with aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six-plane delta formation, still flown to this day. By the end of the 1960’s, we were flying the F-4 Phantom, the only two seat aircraft flown by the delta formation. In 1974, we transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, which we still fly to this day.
In 1949, it became necessary for the Blue Angels to operate a support aircraft to move personnel and equipment between show sites. These support aircraft including the Douglas R4D Sky Train, the Curtiss R5C Commando, the Douglas R5D Skymaster, and the Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation. In 1970 the team received the Lockheed Martin C-130, affectionately known as “Fat Albert.”
For any kid that ever had a chance to go to an airshow, the Blue Angels were and still are the pinnacle of ‘demonstration’ teams (yeah, yeah, I know- Thunderbirds for the USAF types- But they didn’t start until 1953, so they are Johnny come latelys). 🙂
For any aviator, the precision and tightness of the formations leaves even veteran pilots in wonder, as they ‘know’ the air isn’t smooth and the concentration it takes to fly, much less what it takes to fly in close formation for that length of time it takes to fly a show. The Blues routinely pull 7Gs during maneuvers, and do it WITHOUT G-suits!
The Defense Media Network has a nice write up HERE on the Blues with some great pictures!
Walk around them and look, this is actually how tight a formation the Blues fly!!! And these wre the actual A-4Es they flew in the 1974-1986 timeframe. I was lucky enough to get to see the Blues fly three times in Pensacola, 1973, 1982 and 1990. The ‘home show’ as it’s called is the last show of the year, and they pretty much let it ALL hang out!