NAVAL AVIATION NEWS

October 1969

 THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BLUES

Published in the October 1969 issue of Naval Aviation News
Editor & Photo Credit: Cdr. Ted Wilbur
Photo Credits: JOC James Johnston, PH2 W. G. Blackwell and JO2 John Hicks

Several million people have seen the Blue Angels perform in their F-4 Phantoms since December 1968, just as countless millions saw them perform in the F-11 Tigers before the changeover. The crowd reaction is always the same awe. The Blue Angels take your breath away with their precision, close formation demonstration of standard Navy pilot combat maneuvers.

The six performing Blues, two additional pilots, an NFO, a Wave officer and 90 enlisted men who comprise the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, are all Navy top Navy people. Everyone on the team is a volunteer, screened, interviewed, tested and finally accepted into what is perhaps the most elite organiztion in the Navy, or any other service branch for that matter.

Their job is more than simply providing entertainment around the United States and in foreign countries. The Blue Angels are the Ambassadors of Naval Aviation. They represent every pilot, naval flight officer and enlisted man involved in Navy Air Power. They talk to people. By demonstration and discussion, the Blues tell the story of Naval Aviation to prospective candidates, the taxpayer and the serviceman.

What most of the millions who see these pilots fail to realize, however, is the work involved: the travel, long hours, hard practice and maintenance work that go into one air show. The Blue Angels are on the road ten months out on every year, often spending as much as 21 days out of every month away from their families and homes.

This is the other side of the Blues, the side that is difficult to envision while watching the beauty of their flight demonstration. On these pages, NANews attempts to show what goes into the Blue Angels performance.

Front Cover

Back Cover

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