Blue Angels Release 2019 Pensacola Practice Schedule

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 2

US Navy Blue Angels - AirshowStuff

The US Navy Blue Angels have released their 2019 Pensacola practice schedule!

Although the team travels the country during the year, they return home to NAS Pensacola in Florida most weeks. In order to stay proficient in their demanding routine, they traditionally fly practice performances over the base on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during airshow season (March through November). Look below for their planned practice dates, but keep in mind that these can and do change as the year progresses due to things like weather or other circumstances. We will do our best to keep the list updated here and on our forums, but we can only pass on information as it is released.

Also be sure to check our airshow calendar for an extensive list of airshows and aviation events in the US and Canada, including all of the Blue Angel performances scheduled for 2019!

Practices typically begin at 11:30 am central time and last about 55 minutes. Public viewing is available at the National Naval Aviation Museum at no cost. The outside viewing area for the Blue Angels practice is located on the museum’s flight line north of the museum. Signs are posted to direct visitors to viewing and parking locations, including limited parking for handicapped visitors. Open bleacher seating is available and seats 1,000 people. A limited quantity of chairs are available for a fee of $3 per chair, good for that day’s practice session. Concessions (bottled water, sport drinks, light food, and treats) and merchandise are also available. Chair service, concessions, and merchandise are provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and proceeds support the museum and foundation programs.

A valid ID is required for all visitors 16 and over to gain access to the museum flight line. Backpacks, daypacks, and other similar items are not allowed on the flight line.

2019 Blue Angels Pensacola Practice Schedule

MARCH 27 (Orientation flight only; not an actual flight demonstration)
APRIL 2, 3*, 9, 10*, 16, 17*, 18, 19, 23, 24*, 30
MAY 1*, 7, 14, 15*, 28, 29*
JUNE 4, 5*, 11, 12, 18, 19*, 20, 21, 25, 26*
JULY 2, 3, 16
AUGUST 7*, 8, 9, 13, 14, 20
SEPTEMBER 4*, 10, 11*, 12, 13, 17
OCTOBER 16*, 22, 23*, 29, 30*
NOVEMBER 5, 6, 7 (Practices are at 2:30pm for End of Season Week)

*Denotes autograph session following the practice inside the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Again, practices may be canceled due to weather or other circumstances without notice. Please contact the museum for last minute information.

Memorial To Honor Blue Angel Pilot Nears Completion, Public Dedication

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

Blue Angels Memorial in Smyrna

The finishing touches are being put on a memorial to honor Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who was killed when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed during a practice flight demonstration in Smyrna, Tennessee in June 2016.

Kuss, who was in his second year on the team, was loved by many. He also was popular in the media, since his position as the team’s 2015 narrator also enabled him to give rides to media, VIPs, and local influencers at each show site the Blue Angels attended.

Following the crash, the town of Smyrna wanted to honor Kuss in a special way. In May of 2017, plans were announced to build a permanent memorial for the fallen Blue Angels pilot outside the airport and adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the town came together the night of the crash to honor Kuss. Plans for the memorial included pavers, which could be bought for a small donation, and a retired F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors.

Kuss Memorial Groundbreaking

On October 18th, 2017, groundbreaking for the memorial was held.

On Friday, the most prominent part of the memorial was installed. A retired Blue Angel jet, BuNo 163498, was lifted by crane from a flatbed trailer and into position on an elevated platform in the memorial. The aircraft is on permanent loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

Kuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TNKuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TN

In a video posted by the Town of Smyrna, some F/A-18 hornets are seen flying over the Blue Angel jet. The flyover was performed by members of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. They flew in from California on Thursday, and waited until the plane was placed to do the flyover, then departed on their way to NAS Oceana, VA.

The memorial dedication will be held on June 9 at 10:00 a.m. at Lee Victory Recreation Park in Smyrna and is open the public. For those who can’t attend, the ceremony will be streamed live. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more info.

Blue Angels Add “New” F/A-18B Hornet To Squadron

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet

The Blue Angels have a new jet in their squadron! The Blues announced Friday that they’ve taken acquisition of BUNO 162419, a two-seat F/A-18B Hornet.

While this jet is new to the team, it is not new to the fleet. All of the US Navy Blue Angels aircraft are former fleet aircraft. Pictures online show that this particular jet once served with VX-23, the “Salty Dogs”, at NAS Patuxent River, VA. The jet is now painted up in the Blue’s famous blue and gold paint scheme. It will likely be used as a #7 media/backup jet once fully integrated into the team.

Blue Angels Receive New Jet

This new jet comes at a good time as the team was plagued by maintenance issues during the 2017 show season. Even with the best maintainers in the Navy, the team was only able to field five flyable jets at several shows over the summer months. They simply did not have enough aircraft in the squadron.

Further compounding the problem was the grounding of Fat Albert following a crash of a Marine KC-130 in July, which grounded the type. Part of Fat Albert’s role is to quickly retrieve equipment and replacement parts, but with Bert grounded the Blues had to rely on slower methods of getting parts for their jets.

Eventually the team will transition to F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets, but that is still probably a couple years off. In the mean time, 162419 will help them thrill spectators everywhere they go!

Blue Angels Release 2018 Pensacola Practice Schedule

posted in: Jet Teams, Schedules | 40

US Navy Blue Angels Release Practice Schedule for 2018

The US Navy Blue Angels have released their 2018 Pensacola practice schedule!

Although the team travels the country during the year, they return home to NAS Pensacola in Florida most weeks. In order to stay proficient in their demanding routine, they traditionally fly practice performances over the base on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during airshow season (March through November). Look below for their planned practice dates, but keep in mind that these can and do change as the year progresses due to things like weather or other circumstances. We will do our best to keep the list updated here and on our forums, but we can only pass on information as it is released.

Also be sure to check the 2018 Blue Angels airshow schedule to see where else they’ll be performing!

Practices typically begin at 11:30 am central time and last about 55 minutes. Public viewing is available at the National Naval Aviation Museum at no cost. The outside viewing area for the Blue Angels practice is located on the museum’s flight line north of the museum. Signs are posted to direct visitors to viewing and parking locations, including limited parking for handicapped visitors. Open bleacher seating is available and seats 1,000 people. A limited quantity of chairs are available for a fee of $3 per chair, good for that day’s practice session. Concessions (bottled water, sport drinks, light food, and treats) and merchandise are also available. Chair service, concessions and merchandise are provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and proceeds support the museum and foundation programs.

A valid ID is required for all visitors 16 and over to gain access to the museum flight line. Backpacks, daypacks and other similar items are not allowed on the flight line.

2018 Blue Angels Pensacola Practice Schedule
March 27th
March 28th*
March 29th
March 30th (9am-10am)

April 3rd
April 4th
April 10th
April 11th*
April 17th
April 18th*
April 24th
April 25th*

May 1st
May 2nd*
May 8th
May 9th*
May 15th
May 16th*
May 17th
May 18th (9am-10am)
May 29th

June 5th
June 20th*
June 26th

July 3rd
July 5th
July 6th (9am-10am)
July 11th
July 17th
July 18th*
July 24th

August 15th*
August 21st
August 22nd*
August 28th
August 29th*

September 5th*
September 6th
September 7th (9am-10am)
September 11th
September 12th*
September 18th
September 25th*

October 17th*
October 23rd
October 24th*
October 30th
October 31st

November 1st
November 2nd

*Denotes autograph session following the practice inside the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Again, practices may be canceled due to weather or other circumstances without notice. Please contact the museum for last minute information.

Nellis Air Force Base Concludes 17-2 Red Flag Aerial Combat Training Exercise

posted in: Military | 2

This past week, the year’s second Red Flag Exercise, known as Red Flag 17-2, came to a close after two intense weeks of training consisting of air to air, air to ground, aerial refueling, and overwatch missions. Missions were flown during the afternoons and evenings, resulting in two mass launches and two mass recoveries of aircraft each day, five days a week.

Red Flag happens four times a year, hosting the world’s elite fighter squadrons from the US Air Force, Navy, Marines, Air National Guard, NATO, and other allied nations. These groups gather to take part in ultra-realistic simulated aerial war games, which all take place at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

One participating aircraft type that really stood out from the crowd was the EA-6B Prowler operated by the US Marine Corps. This will be marked as the last Red Flag participation from any EA-6B squadron, as VMAQ-4 is set to deactivate. The squadron will be retiring its aging Prowler fleet this June, marking the end of an era for a distinguished airframe.

Colorado Air National Guard F-16 passing the moon during Red Flag 17-2EA-6B Prowler returns during Red Flag 17-2

The amount of time and effort that goes into creating these highly realistic combat environments is unprecedented. Even when the jets are not flying, the maintainers are hard at work on the line keeping the jets ready for the next sortie. While the maintainers and pilots do their tasks, the unsung warriors are the dozens of Red Flag mission organizers that help thoroughly brief and debrief hundreds of pilots from the 15 visiting fighter and support squadrons:

Royal Netherlands Air Force

  • F-16 Fighting Falcon

Spanje (Spanish Air Force)

  • ALA 111 – Eurofighter EF-2000
  • ALA 312 – KC-130H Hercules

Air National Guard

  • 100th FS – F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • 120th FS – F-16C Fighting Falcon

US Army

  • 149th AVN – UH-60 Blackhawk

US Air Force – Europe

  • 493d FS – F-15C/D Eagle

US Air Force

  • 16th ACCS – E-8C Joint STARS
  • 55th FS – F-16CJ Fighting Falcon
  • 79th RQS – HC-130 Hercules/HH-60 Blackhawk
  • 960th AACS – E-3 Sentry
  • 91st ARS – KC-135 Stratotanker

US Navy

  • HSC-21 – MH-60S Seahawk
  • VAW-117 – E-2C Hawkeye

US Marine Corps

  • VMAQ-4 – EA-6B Prowler

HC-130 Red Flag 17-2

Beyond the squadrons’ jet fuel-driven training, exercises also draw crowds of a different breed. Hundreds of aviation photographers travel to Nellis each Red Flag for the opportunity to photograph aircraft from squadrons they may never have the chance to see again. Squadrons such as the Spanish, Dutch, and the Lakenheath-based USAFE F-15C/Ds were on every photographer’s must-shoot list. Nothing provides a better opportunity for good photos than the almost always clear Vegas skies mixed with perfect late afternoon light.

Though 17-2 has come to a close, photographers should mark their calendars as Nellis AFB will be hosting two more Red Flag exercises during the 2017 calendar year; the first taking place mid-July (17-3), and the second in mid-August (17-4).

– Anthony Cornelius

Spanish Eurofighter at Red Flag 17-2

F-16C From the 140th wing returning to Nellis AFBColorado Air National Guard F-16s leading a pair of Shaw AFB F-16s

Red Flag 17-2 Night Launch Operations

The Best Of Military Aviation – November 2016

posted in: AirshowStuff, Featured Videos, Military | 0

Each month we bring you a compilation of the very best military aviation videos on our Youtube channel. These videos take you inside military operations all over the world for things like exercises, aircraft carrier operations, aerial refueling, and training missions. Please enjoy the November video, which you can watch below or view on Youtube: The Best Of Military Aviation – November 2016

A compilation of the best military aviation clips from November 2016. Featuring Cope West exercises, F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Warthog day and night aerial refueling, F-35 carrier operations, and more!

Be sure to check out the other videos in the series as well by checking out the Best of Military Aviation video playlist!

US Navy Blue Angels Announce New 2017 Officers

posted in: Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels

The US Navy Blue Angels have announced the officers that will be joining the team for the 2017 show season. These outstanding individuals were selected after a rigorous process and we want to congratulate them on their new status! They will join the returning members of the team, including the “Boss”, Blue Angel #1 Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi.

All photos courtesy of the US Navy Blue Angels Facebook page.

F/A-18 Hornet Demonstration Pilots

Lt. Brandon Hempler - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Brandon Hempler, 32, of Wamego, Kansas, is an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot currently assigned to Training Squadron TWO-TWO (VT-22), the “Golden Eagles,” at NAS Kingsville, Texas. He is a 2007 graduate of Kansas State University, Salina, Kansas.

Lt. Damon Kroes - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Damon Kroes, 34, of Fremont, California, is an F/A-18 Hornet Instructor Pilot currently assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), the “Sharpshooters,” at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. He is a 2006 graduate of San Diego State University, San Diego.

Lt. Nate Scott - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Nate Scott, 31, of Danville, California, is an F/A-18 Hornet Instructor Pilot currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106), the “Gladiators,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Events Coordinator

Lt. Dave Steppe - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Dave Steppe, 31, of Birmingham, Alabama, is an EA-18G Growler Naval Flight Officer currently assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron ONE TWO NINE (VAQ-129), the “Vikings,” at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. He is a 2008 graduate of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

C-130 “Fat Albert” Demonstration Pilot

Capt. Kyle Maschner - US Navy Blue Angels
Marine Capt. Kyle Maschner, 33, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a KC-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa, Japan. He is a 2006 graduate of Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.

Flight Surgeon

Lt. Juan Guerra - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Juan Guerra, 31, of Ocala, Florida, is a Flight Surgeon currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106), the “Gladiators,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He is a 2011 graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

Supply Officer

Lt. Bryan Pace - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Bryan Pace, 32, of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, is a Supply Officer currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), the “Grim Reapers,” at Eglin AFB, Florida. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Administration Officer

Lt. j.g. Timothy Hawkins - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. j.g. Timothy Hawkins, 37, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is an Administrative Officer currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE FOUR THREE (VFA-143), the “Pukin’ Dogs,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He was commissioned through the Limited Duty Officer Program in 2013.

2016 USMC Harrier and Osprey Demo Schedules Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 1

USMC AV-8B Harrier Demonstration

The 2016 USMC Harrier and MV-22 Osprey schedules have been released. The Harrier will perform at four airshows with two in the central US and one in the southwest US. Although the Harrier dates only list one date of a weekend, it seems safe to assume the date represents the entire weekend of the show.

USMC Harrier 2016 Demonstration Schedule
March 12th – Thunder and Lightning Over Tucson, Tucson, AZ
June 17th – Rockford Airfest, Rockford, IL
July 23rd – South Dakota ANG 70th Airshow, Sioux Falls, SD
September 10th – Westfield International Airshow, Westfield, MA*

*This airshow has been announced as canceled for 2016. We expect the schedule to be updated with a different show taking its place.

USMC MV-22 Osprey Demo Team

The USMC MV-22 Osprey will also perform at four airshows during the 2016 season.

USMC MV-22 Osprey 2016 Demonstration Schedule
July 8-10 – Gary Air and Water Show, Gary, IN
July 22-24th – Oregon International Airshow, Hillsboro, OR
August 17th – Thunder over the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ
September 17-18th – Heart of TX Airshow, Waco, TX

USMC AV-8B Harrier II and MV-22 Osprey Schedule Announced

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 0

MV-22 Osprey

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has released the AV-8B Harrier II and MV-22 Osprey schedules for this year’s airshow season. If you’re a fan of VTOL hardware, get excited because here are the dates and places where you catch them in action!

MV-22 Osprey
Mar 21 – Melbourne Air and Space Show- Melbourne, FL
Mar 28 – Tuscaloosa Regional Airshow – Tuscaloosa, AL
Apr 18 – NAS Corpus Christi South Texas Shoot-Out – Corpus Christi, TX
May 23 – Memorial Day Weekend Salute to Veterans Celebration – Columbia, MO
Jul 3 – Radio Dubuque/Dubuque Jaycees Air Show and Fireworks – Dubuque, IA
Aug 22 – Wings Over Camarillo – Camarillo, CA
Oct 3 – Wings Over Northern America – Rome, GA

AV-8B Harrier
Mar 21 – Los Angeles County Air Show – Lancaster, CA
Apr 18 – Thunder Over Louisville – Louisville, KY
May 2 – Dyess Big Country Airfest – Abilene, TX
Jul 18 – Thunder of Niagara Military Airshow – Niagara Falls, NY
Jul 25 – Fargo Air Show – Fargo, ND
Jul 31 – Seafair – Boeing Air Show – Seattle, WA
Aug 29 – New York City Airshow Coney Island – Brooklyn, NY
Sep 5 – Cleveland National Airshow – Cleveland, OH

Alternate Shows:
Jul 17 – Oregon International Airshow – Hillsboro, OR
Sept 19 – Owensboro Airshow – Owensboro, KY

US Navy and Marine Tactical Demos Are Back for 2015!

posted in: Military | 2

F-18 Hornet

The US Navy and Marine Corps will both participate in aerial demonstrations during the 2015 season, per the Navy/Marine Forum at the International Council of Airshows Convention. The US Navy will support a full Blue Angels and Leap Frogs schedule and 20 Hornet tactical demos.

Ten of these tactical hornet demos will be performed by VFA-106 (C and F models) from NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA. The other ten will be performed by VFA-122 (E Model), based at NAS Lemoore in Lemoore, CA. The teams will also participate in the Legacy Flight program and act as a static display for the shows they perform at. Expect a schedule in early 2015 and for most, if not all of the shows to be civilian shows. Ten additional shows outside of where the demo teams perform at should also get Navy static support.

The Marines will support eight Harrier demos and eight Osprey demos at civilian shows. Military bases with Marine aircraft based there may also support additional performances. Flyovers and static displays will be available. Please note that Marine Corps brass still has to approve this level of support though, and it is subject to change.

We want to know! What are your thoughts? Are you happy with the level of Navy and Marine support in 2015? Post a comment on the blog or let us know on your Facebook page.