I Get to Soar with the Blue Angels!

By: Lauren Tjaden

ADD TO FAVORITES

On a scale of one to ten, how excited am I?

At least a 12!

Next week I’m gliding up to Pensacola to interview the Blue Angels, the Navy’s famed flight demonstration team. The precise pilots that make up the squadron fly as close to each other as 18 inches in their F/A-18 Hornets. They perform vertical rolls at a mind-boggling 15,000 feet and perform oh-so-low sneak passes at an even more mind-boggling 50 feet; they fly as fast as 700 mph (just under Mach 1) and as slow as 120 mph. Yeah, those Blue Angels.

But that’s just the tip of the sandbar!

I’ll also snag a ride with Team RV, the world’s largest air show team. (I’m thinking if I promise to take the pilots for a tandem hang gliding flight, I might be able to convince them to do a loop or two.)

As if that’s not enough to keep my heart soaring for week, next I’ll snag a seat on the Blue Angel’s C-130, affectionately dubbed ‘Fat Albert.’ Finally, I’ll thrill to the Blue Angels in action, both in their full dress rehearsal on July 8, and then at the Pensacola Beach Air Show, July 9, 2011.

Aircraft and teams participating in the airshow include:

·    Grumman Widgeon G-44 flown by Julian MacQueen
·    Prometheus flown by Skip Stewart
·    Team RV
·    MX2 flown by Gary Ward
·    Fat Albert, a C-130 Hercules
·    The Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets
·    Boeing (Stearman) A75N1 flown by Roy Kinsey

The high-flying fun caps off Pensacola Beach’s Red, White and Blues Week, July 4-10, 2011. The celebration blasts off with a fireworks extravaganza and includes toe-tapping good time with Bands on the Beach.

If you’re not going to be in town for the airshow next week, don’t get your beach towel in a twist. You can watch the Blue Angels practice for free through November. I’m as serious as a stingray – it’s true!

Just wing over to the viewing area -- located on the Museum Flight Line behind the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola – for one of their regular practices.  Practices begin at 8:30 a.m. and last about an hour on most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings through November, 2011. Check out the most current practice schedule here.*

More news to make you fling your flip-flops in joy?  Following most of the Wednesday practices, you can snag an autograph from members of the Blue Angels inside the Museum.

*Practices are subject to change without notice due to weather conditions, flight operations or other unforeseen events.       


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