What comes to mind when you say “Pensacola, Florida”? The Blue Angels flight exhibition team of course.
We went to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola to watch the Blue Angels.
At the end of World War II, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. Nimitz ordered the establishment of the Navy Flight Exhibition Team on April 24, 1946.
The team of top pilots performed its first flight demonstration on June 15, 1946. The team was introduced as the “Blue Angels” at the Omaha, Nebraska air show in July of the same year.
The first of 26 Blue Angel pilot fatalities occurred 106 days after their first demonstration, on September 29, 1946, when Pilot Lt. j.g. Ross Robinson failed to recover from a dive while performing a maneuver at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.
The Angels use the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, which has been their plane of choice since 1986. Each plane costs 21 million dollars.