US Navy: Blue Angels Will Transition To Unmanned Aircraft Next Year

posted in: Jet Teams, Miscellaneous | 143
Blue Angels to Fly Drones
Blue Angels to Fly Unmanned Drone Aircraft – Artist’s Depiction

In a surprise announcement today, the US Navy announced that the Blue Angels will transition from their current F-18 Hornets to unmanned F-47 aircraft for their next airshow season. The team will still fly a full ‘delta’ aerobatic routine, including tight formations, using six of the cutting edge drones. The only difference is that the pilots will never leave the ground and will instead monitor the pre-programmed flight routines from special trailers set up at each show site. Since the aircraft are unmanned, the team will no longer offer media rides but will allow selected media representatives to ‘sit in’ on practice demonstrations using a virtual reality headset that will be known as Blue Angel 7, the same callsign as the team’s current two-seat media jet. The pilots will also be expected to post to social media during the routine to increase their interaction with fans.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Navy to showcase our advanced technology and cutting edge aircraft,” said Jack Herndon, the Navy’s Chief of Public Outreach. “Honestly, the Hornets are getting to be quite old and worn out. We saw the need to replace them and decided to take advantage of the timing by leaping straight ahead to our very newest fighter aircraft, the F-47. The Blue Angels’ primary mission is to inspire America’s young people to join the Navy, and with this transition we are able to demonstrate that even young men and women who only want to sit at a computer all day can have a successful Navy flying career. Those are exactly the people we are looking to recruit in the future.”

143 Responses

  1. Danny Hall

    Please don’t use drones…50 yes I’ve watched the blues. Have a special showing with the Drones…but leave the flying to these great officers..when they scream past you say to yourself there’s a pilot flying that aircraft… please don’t do this…signed born & raised in Pensacola Florida….

  2. Cory Synnott

    I just read this today and nearly threw my phone against the wall. If this were ever true it would be an extremely sad and awful day for the United States Navy and The United States Marine Corps pilots and community. You almost had me …

  3. Joshua Van Abel

    Although these drones look cool as hell, PLEASE don’t replace the iconic F-18s. These pilots are the heart and soul of the Navy and Marine corps. They inspire people when they get into those jets and put on the greatest airshow performance ever. With drones, it wouldn’t look or feel the same in any way. It would almost become boring because there aren’t real people in the planes. I personally love it when they are up there in the jets and we get to hear blue angles #1 call break over the speaker system and they preform the stunt. Please don’t use drones! We love the Blue Angel pilots and want to see them continue to fly!

    • Joshua Van Abel

      By the way what you should change to is the f-35 lighting (the Navy version). That would be totally freaking awesome!

      • Yoshua

        That won’t happen for a long time. Next aircraft will be the Super hornet. Blue Angels do not fly brand new jets, they fly the oldest aircraft in the Navy that are past their carrier life but still air worthy. F-35 is too new and the Navy doesn’t have many in their inventory.

  4. Keith Vendouern

    I think this will be the worst season ever if you switch to drones, its like a video game not an air show. Also how about the Thrust how do you make that noise from a drone? Really stinks. guess all we have left is the Thunderbirds.

  5. Edwin jimenez

    Hi just to know if in some in a future The Blue Angels air show will visit Puerto Rico
    I saw it ones years ago on the naval base rossevelt roads Puerto rico when was a kid.
    Is there a posibility.
    Justo ley us know thanks

  6. AJG1983

    wow, this article is over 2 years old and people still haven’t taken the time to realize it was an April Fools article

  7. John Saunders USN Retired

    This is one of the stupidest ideas the Navy has decided to do. First they change to cyber recruiting instead of the traditional recruiter. Now if someone wants information they get it from a computer website and don’t talk with someone who knows what the military is really about.
    Know they want to take away one of the prides of Naval Aviation by switching to a damn drone. Just like they stated in Men of Honor movie. The Navy was built on traditions, but know it’s just another over rated business!!!!

  8. Rajjski

    I see it as a potential life savor. Accidents have and will happen during these show, do an accident search on the last few seasons. It’s now the way of things.

  9. Christopher Blackwell

    I hope this idea gets “Shelved” in a hurry. If the Blue Angels are removing Naval Aviators from the aircraft then Stand down the Squadron. There’s no appreciation or feelings of Pride watching a Drone fly around and perform unrealistic manuevers. The whole point of the Blue Angels performing all these years with all those wonderul old jets. is to give Civilian enthusiasts an opportunity to see Real Fleet Navy and Marine Pilots perform as they have been trained and also to demonstrate the capabilities of the jet. This is a bad Idea and to be honest if this is true and the Blue Angels become Unmanned Drones, I won’t be attending ANY of their events. I’m going to say this: I served 21 yrs in the Marine Corps as a GCI controller, working daily with Navyand Marine Pilots as well as others from the USAF and of NATO countries. I can tell you that when I would see the Blue Angels at an event that Pride would swell up inside me because I know how hard it is to get those Gold Wings and how hard those guys work to be as good as they are. I knew why their shows were so damn impressive and why they can fly with such precision. I was a part of it myself. If you take the Human Pilot out of it then Please, “Stand Down the Squadron and let the memories live on with respect”.

  10. Christopher Blackwell

    Holy Shit!!! I’ve been had. This article is a joke , an April Fools joke. Look at the date…hahaha I’m so relieved

  11. Bobby Hudson

    I was nearly convinced about the “April Fools” joke until I saw the comments further down this page, then I was a joke. I’d like to see the transition to the F35s or another aircraft that’s up to date.

  12. Kevin Boehm

    Just went to the Great Rhode Island Air show today, anticipating the truly versatile and maneuverable x47 drone show, and was confused to see the remarkable F18 Hornets flying. Made my hotel reservations almost a year ago…. Great show as usual, now i find oit was had! I saw the F18 and x47 aircraft test flight online and figured this would be exciting. Diring the show i even thought there might be a 2 part show, starting with the F18s with an X47 Encore! Whoever wrote that got me hook line and sinker… gotta wonder how many others are spoofed….just too embarrassed to write….good one!

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