The US Navy Flight Demonstration Team, aka the Blue Angels, has returned triumphantly to America's air show scene. Here are some shots I took of their return show.
Last year the Blues were grounded as a result of the Federal Government's chaotic sequestration law in an attempt to balance the Navy's 2013 fiscal year budget. It remains highly doubtful that such a measure actually saved any significant money. None-the-less, as a result of this sad political situation the team was relegated to their home base at NAS Pensacola after just a couple of shows.
Following last year's grounding, the fate of the legendary fast jet aerobatic display team remained in question. Luckily, funding was restored to the team for the 2014 fiscal year and big blue roadshow in the sky will most likely be coming to a town near you.
A slight side benefit of last year's grounding was the fact that the whole team is experienced, as last year's pilots, who were either flying with the team the year before or at the least had completed winter training and a couple air shows, were allowed to all stay on for this season. This means the entire "delta" (the whole flying demo team) is well seasoned in their roles, and thus the show looks as good at the start of the season as it usually does at the end of the season during a normal year.
Foxtrot Alpha was on-hand for the Blue's comeback show last weekend at NAF El Centro, which also happens to be their winter training base. I have seen the Blues opener for five straight years in a row, and I have to say that this was by far the tightest I have ever seen the team at this point in their season. In fact, it was one of the best demos I have ever seen the team put on out of dozens, if not hundreds, of displays I have had the privilege to enjoy over the years. They even wore their rare gold flight suits to mark this special occasion! "Haute Couture" for the discriminating fighter pilot if you will...
The Blues will be just east of LA in Lancaster California this weekend, so if you don't have anything on the docket pack up the kids and enjoy a day of transonic glory!
Here are a few quick laptop edits from last weekend's kerosene guzzling glory: