US Navy Blue Angels – NAS Pensacola Practice Show Schedule For 2017

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US Navy Blue Angels

Last week, the US Navy Blue Angels returned to NAS Pensacola in Florida following their winter training period at NAF El Centro in California. Now that the team is home, they will soon begin their regular practice flights over the base. They fly these shows in between airshow appearances to maintain their legendary level of perfection. Luckily for fans, their flights can be viewed from the National Naval Aviation Museum, and at certain times members of the team will even appear at the museum for autograph sessions.

In addition to the previously released 2017 Blue Angels airshow schedule, the team has released a schedule of their NAS Pensacola practice shows so that fans can plan accordingly. Check it out below!

US Navy Blue Angels 2017 Practice Schedule
All shows planned for 11:30 am except for Sept 13th, which will be earlier. These dates are subject to change.

March 28, 29*

April 4, 5*
April 11
April 14
April 18, 19*
April 25, 26*

May 2, 3*
May 9, 10*
May 16, 17
May 30, 31

June 7*
June 13, 14
June 20, 21

July 11, 12*
July 18

August 9*
August 15, 16*
August 22, 23

September 6*
September 12, 13
September 19

October 11*
October 17, 18*
October 24, 25
October 31

November 1*
November 7, 8, 9

* = Museum visit day

2017 Bethpage Airshow Cancels Planned F-18 Hornet Demonstration Due To Airspace Restrictions

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 0

F/A-18F Super Hornet

The Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach in New York has been forced to cancel the planned F/A-18 Hornet demonstration, the show announced today. Due to runway construction at JFK airport and the subsequent rerouting of air traffic, the show will not have the air space necessary for the Hornet team to perform. Traffic will still be coordinated to allow the US Air Force Thunderbirds to perform, and the other performers do not require the same amount of space so they are unaffected.

The airshow is scheduled for May 27 and 28. The cancellation may give the Hornet team (from VFA-106) the chance to book another show in its place. We will update our 2017 Hornet and Super Hornet Demonstration Schedules with any such info as we get it.

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

posted in: Military | 0

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

VFA-106 Unveils Special VFA-15 Paint Scheme For 2017 F/A-18C Hornet Demonstrations

posted in: Military | 8

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

The U.S. Navy’s East Coast TAC Demo squadron, VFA-106 Gladiators, recently introduced a commemorative paint scheme for their F/A-18C “Legacy Hornet” demo jet. The new paint scheme celebrates the legacy of VFA-15 Valions, which is scheduled to formally deactivate on May 31, 2017. The demo jet markings are representative of VA-15 while flying A-7E Corsair IIs during the 1970s. VA-15 transitioned to F/A-18s in January of 1987 and was subsequently re-designated VFA-15.

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint SchemeF/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

The jet made its public debut March 10-12 at the Tico Warbird Airshow held annually at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida. The event was the team’s first of the 2017 airshow season. Lt. Scott “MacGruber” Lindahl piloted the jet for all three demonstrations of the weekend, much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. Overall, the jet was very well received and was the subject of much discussion due to the jet’s retro 1970s paint scheme.

The jet is a fitting tribute to the men and women currently serving in VFA-15, and provides honor and respect for all who served the mighty Valions during the squadron’s storied 75 year history.

– Shawn Yost

EDIT: Our comments include some credit for the paint scheme:
All of us in the VFA-15 Corrosion Workcenter painted the jet that paint scheme, the original A/C Modex was 301. The night before it came out from the paint hangar there onboard NAS OCEANA & was on display at my Navy Retirement Ceremony on Nov. 18, [2016]. I was the LPO for 12C Work Center & all my guys did a Fantastic JOB painting the jet. I like to give them the credit & they are as follows: Jared Paul Bowen, Yisus Vlzqz, Wayne Ragas, Jordan Soltis, Huy G Tran, Sean Collins, Narciso Diaz & Brent Fore

SEE ALSO: 2017 US Navy F-18 Hornet And Super Hornet Demo Team Schedules Released

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

Enjoy Nearly Six Hours Of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Action With This Mega-Compilation Video!

That’s right, our annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh mega-compilation video is up, and this year it is nearly six hours long! This video combines all of our ground footage from the show into one long masterpiece, sure to please any aviation fan. The videos are in roughly sequential order, so you start out with the chaos of mass aircraft arrivals on the Sunday before the show. As the week progresses you’ll see more arrivals, portions of the airshow, and then mass departures as everyone reluctantly bids Wittman Regional Airport farewell and heads home.

Airshow performances include the US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team, the USAF Heritage Flight, the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet demonstration, the arrival of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, a Martin Mars water drop, the final Oshkosh appearance of USAF F-4 Phantom IIs, flybys from a USAF U-2 Dragon Lady, F-15 Eagle, and A-10 Warthogs, massive warbird formations and exciting flybys, the Tora! Tora! Tora! Pearl Harbor reenactment, the arrival and departure of a massive C-5M Super Galaxy, the Oshkosh seaplane base on Lake Winnebago, a maximum performance departure of the Cathay-Pacific 747-8 freighter “Hong Kong Trader”, and much more!

Find a comfortable chair and settle in to watch the video above! You can also view each video individually, as well as special on-board videos from the show, using our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 video playlist. Enjoy!

The Best Of Military Aviation – December 2016

posted in: AirshowStuff, Featured Videos, Military | 1

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 December video, which you can watch below or view on Youtube: The Best Of Military Aviation – December 2016

A compilation of the best military aviation clips from December 2016. Featuring the Checkered Flag exercises, AV-8B Harrier carrier operations, aerial refueling of F-16s and F-15s, 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!

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 To Headline EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 With Full Aerobatic Performances

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 0

US Navy Blue Angels

The famous US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team will headline EAA AirVenture for the first time this July. Although the show was previously listed on the preliminary 2017 schedule released last year, it was confirmed earlier this week when the updated 2017 Blue Angel schedule was announced.

The team has sent jets to AirVenture in the past, but it has never performed a full demonstration due to airspace limitations. In 2014, the show made special arrangements for a full-sized aerobatic box and hosted the US Air Force Thunderbirds. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds performed their full routine in 2016.

In order to establish the sterile aerobatic box, the crowd line is temporarily relocated further from the runway. Unfortunately this leaves numerous aircraft and structures in front of the crowd to block the view, and can create a dangerous stampede when the crowd is released to rush forward.

The event runs from Monday, July 24th through Sunday, July 30th at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI. The team is only scheduled to perform on the final Saturday and Sunday, but typically runs through a full routine as practice on the Thursday and Friday before a show. Any aerobatic practice would require the modified crowd line.

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