Blue Angels Return To El Centro For 2018 Winter Training Period

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Blue Angels Return for Winter Training

The Blue Angels have returned to their winter home at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California!

The team flew into the base, located about 87 miles east of San Diego, on January 3rd. They’ll remain at El Centro throughout January, February, and early March, flying several flights a day to perfect the demonstration.

The 10 week, 120 flight period will begin over the desert adjacent to El Centro; once the team feels confident in the demonstration they will begin to fly over the airfield.

This year marks the 51st year the team will use El Centro as their winter training base. The usually calm and warm weather of the Imperial Valley makes southern CA the perfect place for the Blue Angel’s winter training.

The 2018 season will be the Blue Angels’ 72nd show season. We have a copy of their 2018 airshow season schedule here on the blog – see if they’ll be performing near you!

One important member of the team will not be joining the rest of the aircraft though; Fat Albert, the team’s C-130 Hercules transport, has been grounded during an investigation into the crash of a Marine Corps C-130 last summer. A post on Instagram shows her in the maintenance hangar for an inspection. Bert’s Marine pilots typically practice their routine during their own winter training period at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona.

Blue Angels Arrive In El Centro For 2017 Winter Training

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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.