Blue Angels Arrive In El Centro For 2017 Winter Training

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

Blue Angels Prepare for Winter Training 2017

The US Navy Blue Angels have returned to Southern California to begin their winter training period! In a post on the team’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon, the Blues announced they had landed at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro on a “beautiful day” and were ready to begin training.

The 10 week flight training period for the Blue Angels begins in January and continues through early March. During the team’s time in the Imperial Valley, they will conduct 120 required flights, flying several times during the day to hone their skills. Flights will initially be conducted off site in a nearby valley, and will then transition to over the base after several weeks. Fat Albert will also conduct training flights during this time period.

2017 marks the 50th year the Blue Angels will visit NAF El Centro for their winter training. Over the past 50 years, the usually calm weather of the Imperial Valley has proven itself excellent for flying, as opposed to Pensacola which can often see rain and storms in the winter months.

The team’s first performance of 2017 will be at the annual NAF El Centro, CA airshow on March 11th.

New Photo Album – Cleveland National Airshow 2016

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 1

Cleveland National Airshow 2016 - E-2 Hawkeye and A-10 Warthog

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: Cleveland National Airshow 2016 – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 Cleveland National Airshow, featured the US Navy Blue Angels, USAF F-22 Raptor, USAF F-35 Lightning II, Redline Airshows, the Shockwave jet truck, vintage warbirds, and more.

Rockford AirFest Suspended In 2017 And Beyond Despite Scheduled USAF Thunderbirds Appearance

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 1

US Air Force Thunderbirds - Rockford AirFest

Say goodbye to the Rockford AirFest. The event has been canceled in 2017 and beyond, thanks to new tenants at the airport. The move is surprising as the show had already landed a coveted appearance by the US Air Force Thunderbirds on June 3rd and 4th of next year. Mike Dunn, the Airport’s Executive Director, says that the airport has gotten too busy to shut down operations for the show weekend.

The show had faced troubles recently, and was canceled in 2016 after scheduling conflicts with the US Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration team that was the headline the event. Two different US Navy Blue Angel appearances were also canceled in recent years, but it nevertheless remained a popular attraction since its start in 2005. Rockford did not appear on either the Blue Angel or Thunderbirds preliminary schedules for 2018, but may have landed the F-22 Raptor demonstration.

With Rockford throwing in the towel, that weekend will now open up for the Thunderbirds. The airshow in Duluth, MN will already host the Blue Angels and Canadian Forces Snowbirds on those same dates, and may make a play for the rare privilege of hosting all three North American jet teams. More likely, another show currently without a jet team will land the Thunderbirds by changing dates. Be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow our social media channels for further updates when they are available!

US Navy Blue Angels 2017/2018 Airshow Schedules Released

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Popular Posts, Schedules | 19

US Navy Blue Angels

Here is the 2017/2018 airshow schedule for the United States Navy Blue Angels! Will you see them in 2017? Let us know! Post on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2017 Appearance Schedule – US Navy Blue Angels

March 11: El Centro, CA
March 18-19: China Lake, CA
March 25-26: Brunswick, GA

April 1-2: NAS Corpus Christi, TX
April 8-9: Lakeland, FL
April 22-23: NAS New Orleans, LA
April 29-30: MCAS Beaufort, SC

May 6-7: Barksdale AFB, LA
May 13-14: Millington, TN
May 20-21: Seymour Johnson AFB, NC
May 24-26: Annapolis, MD
May 27-28: Millville, NJ

June 3-4: Duluth, MN
June 17-18: Ocean City, MD
June 24-25: Latrobe, PA

July 1-3: OPEN
July 8: Pensacola Beach, FL
July 15-16: Milwaukee, WI
July 22-23: Idaho Falls, ID
July 29-30: Oshkosh, WI

August 5-6: Seattle, WA
August 19-20: Chicago, IL
August 26-27: Brunswick, ME

September 2-3: Ypsilanti, MI
September 9-10: Lincoln, AL
September 16-17: NAS Oceana, VA
September 23-24: MCAS Miramar CA
September 30-Oct. 1: Huntington Beach, CA

October 7-8: San Francisco, CA
October 21-22: Rome, GA
October 28-29: Fort Worth, TX

November 4-5: NAS Jacksonville, FL
November 11-12: NAS Pensacola, FL

Preliminary 2018 Appearance Schedule – US Navy Blue Angels

March 10: El Centro, CA
March 17-18: Tuscon, AZ
March 24-25: NAS Kingsville, TX

April 7-8: Waco, TX
April 14-15: Tuscaloosa, AL
April 21-22: Vero Beach, FL
April 28-29: Homestead, FL

May 5-6: MCAS Cherry Point, NC
May 12-13: Tampa, FL
May 23-25: Annapolis, MD
May 26-27: Wantagh (Jones Beach), NY

June 2-3: Patuxent River, MD
June 9-10: North Kingstown, RI
June 16-17: Eau Claire, WI
June 23-24: Dayton, OH
June 30-July 1: Traverse City, MI

July 14-15: Pensacola Beach, FL
July 21-22: Biloxi, MS
July 28-29: Fargo, ND

Aug 4-5: Seattle, WA
Aug 11-12: Abbotsford, BC
Aug 18-19: Terre Haute, IN
Aug 25-26: St Joseph, MO

Sept 1-3: Cleveland, OH
Sept 15-16: Owensboro, KY
Sept 22-23: NAS Oceana, VA
Sept 29-30: San Diego, CA

Oct 6-7: San Francisco, CA
Oct 13-14: Phoenix Speedway, Avondale, AZ
Oct 20-21: Houston, TX
Oct 27-28: NAS Jacksonville ,FL

Nov 2-3: NAS Pensacola, FL

Blue Angels Cancel Performance After Pilot Falls Ill

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

Blue Angel #1 - Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi

The US Navy Blue Angels were forced to cancel their Saturday afternoon performance at the California Capital Airshow today after Blue Angel #1, Commander Ryan Bernacchi, contracted a food-borne illness. Boss remains under the medical supervision of the team’s flight surgeon.

In a statement published on Facebook, the Blue Angels said:

Sacramento airshow fans. We regret to inform everyone that we will not be performing today. Boss Bernacchi fell under the weather and the decision was made not to fly and to make sure he focuses on his health so he is ready for tomorrow. The team is still planning on performing for all airshow fans tomorrow at the California Capital Airshow on Oct. 2.

While the Blue Angels can perform with less than six pilots if necessary due to illness or mechanical issue, the stand down of the #1 jet forces the entire team to stand down in the interest of safety.

We wish Commander Bernacchi the best and hope he feels better tomorrow!

NAS Patuxent River Air Expo 2016 Will Be Held Without Blue Angels

posted in: Airshows | 0

Art Nalls - Sea Harrier

Naval Air Station Patuxent River will continue with it’s planned 2016 Air Expo airshow on the weekend of October 29th and 30th. The show was in doubt after the US Navy Blue Angels announced this week that they would not be attending. Organizers and performers discussed the sudden cancellation and determined that they would not allow it to cancel the show as well.

The show will still feature the US Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration team, the Nalls Aviation Sea Harrier, the Geico Skytypers, and more. Up to date information on the show can be found on the NAS Pax River Air Expo web site.

Here is the full announcement posted to the NAS Pax River Facebook page:

NAS Patuxent River Air Expo will go on as planned Oct 29 and 30 with plenty of action to thrill the audience. Don’t miss these amazing performers:

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration team performing precision aerial maneuvers in the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft; U.S. Army Black Daggers special forces parachute demonstration team showcasing their aerial acrobatics skill and precision; the Geico Skytypers’ low-level precision flying act; Nalls Aviation’s first flyable privately owned FA-2 Sea Harrier; “Panchito,” a WWII B-25J; Clemens Kuhlig and his iconic Pitts S1S airplane; former astronaut and Navy test pilot Joe Edwards in his T-28; Manfred Radius’ quiet and elegant sailplane performance; and Scott Francis’ MXS stunt plane; static displays and more.

Navy Releases Report From Blue Angel 6 Crash Investigation

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 3

Captain Jeff Kuss - Blue Angel 6

The United States Navy has concluded their investigation into the fatal crash of a Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet earlier this year in June, which killed Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.

The publicly released JAGMAN report lists “pilot error” as the primary cause, stating that Capt. Kuss was too low (3,196 feet) and was flying too fast (184 knots) before entering the Split-S maneuver after takeoff. The maneuver is supposed to be initiated at an altitude of no less than 3,500 feet above the ground and with an optimum airspeed of 125 to 135 knots. No mechanical or maintenance issues were discovered by the investigation.

The report also gives numerous recommendations for ways to learn from the crash and improve safety, such as reviewing and implementing changes to the Blue Angel’s Standard Operation Procedures. The Split-S maneuver will not be performed in 2016 and will be reviewed before the 2017 season to potentially add extra safeguards. More specific training is urged for team members as well, including reviews of when to abort a maneuver.

In the report, Capt. Kuss’ was rightfully recognized for his exceptional Navy career and his passion for showcasing Naval aviation. Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Commander of Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet said “Capt. Kuss represented the best and brightest of Naval Aviation. His loss is devastating and felt across the Naval Aviation Community.” The investigation determined that Capt. Kuss died in the line of duty and not due to misconduct.

In the hours and days following the crash, countless people expressed their sadness over the loss of Blue Angel 6 and shared their stories of how he touched their lives. Capt. Kuss memory will forever live in the lives of the children and people he connected with during his time with the Blue Angels.

Blue Angels To Fly Delta Formation This Weekend In Cleveland; First Six-Ship Performance Since Crash

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

Blue Angels Delta Returns for Cleveland Airshow

The US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced Thursday that the 6-ship delta formation, a signature formation of the Blue Angels since 1958, would return for this weekend’s Cleveland National Air Show in Ohio.

In July, AirshowStuff brought you the news that Cmdr. Frank Weisser, a Blue Angel during the 2008-2010 show seasons would return to the team to replace Captain Jeff Kuss, who was killed during a practice flight in June. Throughout the month of August, the squadron completed training with Cmdr. Weisser to integrate him back into the delta formation.

In a statement released by the Blue Angels, Cmdr. Weisser said “The transition has been a bit easier than I expected. I haven’t flown an airshow in six years, but I am pleased as to how fast it’s come back. I am really excited to get back and ultimately the crowd will be the best judge.”

Lead Solo Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, Blue Angel 5, played a large role in Cmdr. Weisser’s training. In order to get back to the full 6-ship performance, both solo pilots performed maneuvers together and with the other four diamond pilots to re-familiarize Weisser with the role Blue Angel 6 plays in the demonstration. In talking about the training, Lt. Chamberlain compared training Weisser to “taking a rusty bicycle, cleaning off that rust and getting him back up to speed.”

Like many Blue Angels fans, we are excited to see the full Blue Angels Delta and Cmdr. Weisser back in the skies over Cleveland this weekend. AirshowStuff will bring you coverage of the airshow on our Facebook page throughout the weekend.

While the jets will be back in full force, another familiar face of the Blue Angels will be missing in Cleveland. As previously reported, Fat Albert is not expected to fly for the remainder of 2016 as it undergoes maintenance which includes removing the famous blue and gold paint to check for corrosion.

Below, we’ve attached two videos from the 2009 Thunder Over Michigan airshow where Cmdr. Weisser flew with the Blue Angels.

Fat Albert Loses Famous Blue Angel Paint Scheme As Part Of Maintenance Overhaul

posted in: Jet Teams | 0
US Navy Blue Angels - Fat Albert C-130 Hercules - Paint Stripped
Photo Credit: Tinker AFB

Fat Albert has lost the famous blue and gold colors of the Blue Angels as part of a maintenance overhaul currently underway. The aircraft was flown to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, where crews worked in three shifts to remove the famous paint scheme and check for corrosion. The base Facebook page posted a photo of this work in progress, and today another photo was posted by the Fat Albert Twitter account showing the end result; a naked Bert!

US Navy Blue Angels - Fat Albert C-130 Hercules - Paint Stripped
Photo Credit: FatAlbertUSMC

As you can see, only the bright yellow nose remains. The aircraft will be flown to Hill AFB in Utah for major maintenance and repair work. Indications are that severe corrosion is behind the effort that will keep Fat Albert grounded for the rest of the 2016 airshow season. In the mean time, the team will fly a regular ‘fleet’ C-130 for transportation and logistics, but will likely not perform in it.

Blue Angels’ Fat Albert Will Reportedly Not Fly Again Until After 2016 Airshow Season

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 10

US Navy Blue Angels - C-130 Hercules Fat Albert

Fat Albert, the famous C-130 Hercules that serves as the transport for the US Navy Blue Angels, appears to be done flying for the season. As we reported last week, Bert was forced to miss the Seattle Seafair airshow this past weekend due to unspecified maintenance issues, and unconfirmed reports began circulating that it would not be back to flying status any time soon. A tweet by one of the three Fat Albert pilots, USMC Captain Katie Higgins, seems to confirm the news. She mentions that Bert is in depot-level maintenance, and that she will not fly that airframe (164763) again during her time with the team.

The team will likely utilize a normal Marine Corps KC-130 for its transportation needs for the remainder of the season, but it remains to be seen whether that aircraft will perform in shows or not. From what we have heard, it seems doubtful. This puts a further damper on the current Blue Angels performance that remains a five-jet routine following the crash of Blue Angel #6, Captain Jeff Kuss, earlier this year. The sixth jet will rejoin the performances once Commander Frank Weisser is fully proficient in the routine.

We have reached out to the Blue Angels for comments and official confirmation. In the mean time, those needing their Fat Albert fix can take a ride in the cockpit during an airshow flight earlier this year:

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