The Blue Angels, a jet demonstration team of the U.S. Navy, will return for the Cherry Point Air Show May 5 and 6.
The Blue Angels have a history of flight demonstrations at Cherry Point that date to 1959 when the Navy team flew F-11 Tiger during the base open house.
The team’s last appearance at Cherry Point was for the 2016 show, which the Blue Angels voted as their top show of the year.
The team has been in existence since 1946 with the pilots going through extensive training and flight operations to just be considered for the Blue Angels.
“It takes 1,250 flight hours to even apply to the team,” said Petty Officer First Class Daniel Young of the Blue Angels’ public affairs office. “After being accepted, 120 more training hours are required and there are extensive debriefs in between shows for fine-tuning.”
The maneuvers the pilots perform during the show range from a high of 15,000 feet in the air to as low as 50 feet. Speeds range from 700 mph to 120 mph.
The show features the diamond formation, with four of the jets clustered in tight formations, and two solo pilots, who do several high-speed passes in front of the crowd. All six planes come together for what is called the delta formation. At times during the show, the jets will fly as close as 18 inches to each other.
But, the move that always startles the crowd is the sneak pass, performed by lead solo pilot Lt. Tyler Davies. The jet passes in front of the crowd unannounced, with the roar of the F/A-18 Hornet’s engine shocking those enjoying the show. Young called it the team’s “most surprising maneuver.”
Young said that the team brings about 55 members of a maintenance and support team with them to shows in the C-130 Hercules known as Fat Albert, which is also part of the team’s show.
Young said the Blue Angels team really enjoys the Cherry Point show each time they come.
“It’s all about the community there,” he said. “They always help us have a great show. Tthey are supportive of us and provide us everything we need to perform a safe and proficient air show.”
The flight leader and commanding officer of the Blue Angels is Cmdr. Eric Doyle, who flies Blue Angel No. 1. The other pilots include Lt. Cmdr. Damon Kroes in No. 2, Marine Maj. Jeff Mullins in No. 3, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Scott in No. 4, lead solo Davies in No. 5, and opposing solo Lt. Brandon Hempler in No. 6.
Fat Albert pilots include Marine Maj. Mark Montgomery, Marine Maj. Kyle Maschner and Marine Capt. Beau Mabery.
More information about the Blue Angels is available on the team’s website at www.blueangels.navy.mil.