5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Blue Angels
With the Blue Angels Pensacola Beach Air Show quickly approaching, Blue Angels hype is high here on the Florida panhandle. This weekend, the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, is coming to Pensacola. While the team is actually based at NAS Pensacola, the team tours the country from March through November, so their home show is one of the best. On Friday, July 13th, and Saturday, July 14th, at 2 pm, the Blue Angels will perform incredible flying aerobatic tricks over Pensacola Beach. This event leaves people talking about it all year long, so you don’t want to miss it. Because Pensacola is only a short drive away from Destin, you can easily commute to the show from your Bliss Beach Rental.
With everyone talking about the Blue Angels this week, here are five fun facts you can spew off the next time someone tells you they’re going to the show.
1. The Blue Angels first formed in 1946 after WWII.
This makes the squadron the second oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the entire world. Patrouille de France, which formed in 1931, is the only team older than the Blue Angels. According to the Blue Angels Association, “the chief of naval operations, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to showcase naval aviation” after WWII. The Blue Angels’ mission is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Additionally, they aim to inspire a culture of excellence and service to the country through their flight demonstrations and community outreach.
2. Their trademark Diamond Flight Position was first introduced in 1947.
Flight leader Lt. Cmdr. Bob Clarke first introduced this position to the team and it’s safe to say it was a hit. The Diamond Flight Position is incredibly difficult and there is absolutely no room for error. In this position, the wings of each plane almost touch, and to a spectator, it appears that they do. Nonetheless, with thousands of hours of practice, these trained aviators pull the trick off with ease.
3. The Blue Angels haven’t always been a demonstration team.
Believe it or not, the squadron hasn’t always been performing tricks around the country. According to the Blue Angels Association, the Korean Conflict of 1950 put naval aviation in high demand. To respond to the demand, the Navy reassigned the Blue Angels to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CV-37). Here, they became the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191), or as some like to call it, “Satan’s Kittens.” However, in 1951, the team reorganized as a demonstration team.
4. Their home base used to be NAS Corpus Christi, TX.
That’s right, the squadron didn’t call Pensacola home until 1955. From 1951-1954 the squadron was based at NAS Corpus Christi, TX. In early 1955, the team moved to Sherman Field, at NAS Pensacola, where they remain today.
5. The Blue Angels were recognized as the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron in 1973.
In 1973, the U.S. Military recognized the team as the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Additionally, Cmdr. Tony Less was established as the commanding officer and flight leader. This new title also prompted the squadron to redefine their mission to support Navy recruiting. If you’ve seen their show, you probably have to admit that they make the Navy look pretty awesome.
Since the Blue Angels’ creation in 1946, the squadron’s popularity has sored (pun-intended). The team performed shows all over the world. They’ve performed in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, the UK, Spain, in addition to the 34 locations throughout the U.S. they perform at each year. In addition, the Blue Angels Association notes that the squadron has flown for more than 427 million fans since 1946. That number continues to grow as an estimated 11 million spectators attend a Blue Angels air show every single year. This weekend, thousands of people will venture over to Pensacola Beach to watch their annual summer show. Will you be one of them?