Blue Angels Continue to Please...

Fellow ISAP (International Society for Aviation Photography) member and friend Mark Hrutkay recently invited me to tag along on his trip to Naval Air Station Pensacola, to photograph the last Blue Angels airshow of the year. While I'm generally not a big fan of airshows (photographically speaking), it was a real treat to take in the various performances that were offered up to the 70,000 plus fans that showed up on Friday and Saturday. The airmanship was first rate, and of course, the flying done by The Blues was nothing short of spectacular. It was probably some of the finest formation flying I've ever seen...and, of course, one would expect nothing less. The show itself was very family friendly, the organizers did a good job of safely moving the throngs in and out of the grounds, and there seemed to be quite a bit of bleacher seating for most everyone to enjoy the show. It being November, the heat of the summer was long gone, although I did manage to get sunburned on my neck and hands nonetheless. Peeled like a seventh grader for a week!

 Formerly used by the Blue Angels, these A4 Skyraiders hang from the ceiling of the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

The adjacent National Museum of Naval Aviation is one of the finest aviation museums anywhere, and is a real treat for those who love military aviation...especially so for those who love Naval aviation. Not only was it chock full of historic aircraft, there were many knowledgeable docents available to answer questions about the displays, or the history that they had made. Many (if not all) were retired military, and that lent an additional air of "authenticity" to the whole atmosphere. Would love to go back and spend more time there.

                                                                                          Always a crowd pleaser, the American flag arrived by skydiver.

                                                                                          Always a crowd pleaser, the American flag arrived by skydiver.

Pictured above is Skip Stewart in the black Pitts Model 12, John Mohr in the Stearman, and the "Super Shockwave Jet Truck", which in this image was well on it's way to another 300mph "cruise" down the runway. Fun stuff for all...and LOUD too!  Bring your ear plugs!

                                                             The empennage of the #4 (slot) Blue Angels F-18 Super Hornet. Naval Air Station Pensacola.

                                                             The empennage of the #4 (slot) Blue Angels F-18 Super Hornet. Naval Air Station Pensacola.

                      The precision the Blues exhibit in the air is also displayed with crisp salutes and lockstep marching as the pilots move to their respective aircraft.

                      The precision the Blues exhibit in the air is also displayed with crisp salutes and lockstep marching as the pilots move to their respective aircraft.

                                                                                             Four of the six members fly by in a tight Diamond formation.

                                                                                             Four of the six members fly by in a tight Diamond formation.

                                                 The Blue Angels park on the ramp after their last performance of the 2011 season.  Naval Air Station Pensacola.

                                                 The Blue Angels park on the ramp after their last performance of the 2011 season.  Naval Air Station Pensacola.

                                                                     All Images ©2011 John Slemp