By Danielle DeSimone
As the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels amaze audiences across the country each year with their high-speed aerial demonstrations.To pilot one of these six high-performance jets, members of the US Navy and Marine Corps must undergo an extensive application and training process to join one of the elite flight teams. of the world.
Here are eight facts to know about Blue Angels pilots and their job:
1. The Blue Angels serve as ambassadors for the US Naval Aviation.
As a US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron,blue angels missionis to showcase the skill and teamwork of the Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach.
Photo credit DVIDS/Petty Officer 2nd Class Kathryn Macdonald
Lt. Nate Barton, then Left Pilot No. 3 of the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, signs autographs for fans at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Naval Air Station Pensacola , Florida, in 2013.
On average, the squad performs11 million viewersevery year. During the concert season, which runs from March to November, team members visit more than 50,000 people in hospitals and schools.
During the height of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the United States were still able to see the Blue Angels atthe series of viaductsthey drove through cities to honor healthcare workers fighting the virus.
2. The Blue Angels have roots in World War II.
Originally founded in April 1946 by World War II hero and later Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz, the airshow teamwas createdkeeping the American public interested in and supporting naval aviation, as well as keeping morale within the Navy high.
Photo Credit USA Navy Blue Angels
The Blue Angels squad photographed in 1949.
Many of the original team members were naval aviators who served in World War II.
3. Naval Aviators must meet high level requirements to be part of the Blue Angels squadron.
Members of the Navy and Marine Corps who wish to apply to join the Blue Angels team must meet certain requirements, including being a qualified tactical aircraft pilot on an aircraft carrier with a minimum of 1,250 flight hours.
New members of the team must also prepare for an arduous and time-consuming practice and acting routine, which often keeps them away from their families for long periods of time.
4. The Blue Angels are known for their flying formations and maneuvers.
Blue Angels' flying formations require a great deal of skill and precision, many of them performed under high g-force, the force of gravity, or acceleration on the pilot's body, and in close proximity to one another.
Photo Credit USA Navy Blue Angels
The Blue Angels squadron flies in tight formations and performs maneuvers that require a lot of skill, practice and precision.
one of the squadsmost famous acting tricksit is the opposite knife-edge pass, in which two solo pilots on opposite sides of the runway fly their planes directly into each other towards a center point. Then, when they simultaneously hit that center point, they each spin rapidly through a 90-degree angle.
In another maneuver, the high-speed Sneak Pass, the plane often scares the crowds at air shows byflying at 700 miles per hour, that is, just below Mach 1, the speed of sound.
Photo credit DVIDS/Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrea Perez
Lone pilots from the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, perform the Fortus maneuver at the Jacksonville Beach Sea & Sky Spectacular Air Show in 2015.
Another noteworthy maneuver is the Diamond 360 maneuver.In this move, four pilots fly in diamond formation with their planes.only 18 inches aparteach other in a diamond shape.It's a risky move, and in 2019,two jets really touchedwhile practicing the maneuver, however, no one was injured and the incident left only a small scratch on one of the planes.
5. The Blue Angels are named after a nightclub.
Originally the group was called the Navy Flight Display Team. However, after seeing the name of The Blue Angel nightclub in New York City, the team memberschanged the nameto the "Blue Angels".
6. The squadron aircraft evolved from propeller planes to frontline fighter jets.
Originally the Blue AngelsVoou o Grumman F6F Hellcat, a propeller-driven aircraft used extensively during World War II. Over the next several decades, the team flew many different types of aircraft as aviation technology improved.
Photo credit US Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Cotter
Lead US Solo Pilot of the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, Commanding Officer. Frank Weisser participates in a traditional flight along with an F6F Hellcat and an F8F Bearcat aircraft, the first two aircraft models used by the Blue Angels shortly after the team's creation in 1946.
Photo credit DVIDS/Petty Officer 3rd Class Drew Verbis
The "Fat Albert" C-130J Super Hercules is the logistics support vehicle for the US Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels' support aircraft also recently received an upgrade. Affectionately known as "Fat Albert", the team's C-130T Hercules was retired after 30,000 flight hours in support of the Blue Angels. As of 2021, the team's new "Fat Albert" support aircraft has beenthe big British-built C-130J, which can fly further than its predecessor.
7. The Blue Angels do not fight in combat.
With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the Blue Angels squadronbriefly dissolvedand the members joined Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191), “Satan's Kittens,” aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton, which was deployed to Korea. Today, however, the Blue Angels do not fly in combat.
Photo credit DVIDS/Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Lindsey
Pilots assigned to the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly their F/A-18 Hornets in Delta formation over Mount St. Helens, Washington, in 2015.
Although the squadron members do not fly in combat during their two or three years with the team,all Blue Angels aircraft are carrier compatible and can be combat ready in approximately 72 hours if required.
8. Blue Angels pilots don't wear G-suits.
A G suit is a flight suit typically worn by aviators, designed to inflate and deflate quickly to counteract the effects of throttle pressure in an airplane, such as blood pooling in the lower body and then rising to the head, which can cause drivers to pass. outside.However,Blue Angels pilots don't wear G-suits, since inflation and deflation of the suit would interfere with the stick between the pilots legs and affect the safety of the flight.
Photo credit DVIDS/ Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Hendrix
Lieutenant Commander. Brandon Hempler, lead solo pilot assigned to the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, Blue Angels, speaks with Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jace Gerrard before a practice flight at the Facility Naval Air Station from El Centro, California, in January 2020.
Instead of,Blue Angels pilots are trained in contracting their body muscles, as well as breathing techniques, to counteract the effects of acceleration and maintain blood flow to the brain..
-This story was originally published on USO.org in 2021. It was updated in 2022.