Blue Angels Flying High

The Blue Angels return to Jacksonville after four years

Parker Harms, Business Manager


The Blue Angels celebrated their 76th year on Oct. 23. They opened with The Para-Commandos who flew from “12,500 feet ” Jodi Mohrmann from News4Jax wrote. They flew with two individual flyers, one with a U.S. POW/MIA flag and the other carrying a U.S. Special Operations Command flag. Two more flyers came grouped carrying the American flag.

The Announcers for the day were Rob Reider and Wayne Boggs. Reider is an “Honorary Blue Angel” and Boggs is a legacy pilot as his mother was a Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilot (WASP) during WWII.

Performers included Rob Holland, Patty Wagstaff, Matt Younkin, Ken Rieder, Adam Baker and Kyle Fowler. Holland flew the MXS-RH demonstrating his one-of-a-kind maneuvers. Wagstaff, also known as the “First Lady of Aerobatics,” flew the single-seat monoplane. Younkin, a third-generation pilot, flew in the Super Decathlon. Rieder and his custom RV-8 have flown F-4 Phantoms for many years. Baker, also nicknamed “Shakenbake,” is a self-made aviator who flew his Extra 300LX. Fowler, whose father was on Team Rocket, flew his unique 1986 Long EZ. The show also has an F-35A Lightning II Demo Team.

The Para-Commandos made a second jump from the iconic Fat Albert, the Blue Angels C-130J Super Hercules support plane.

The Lockheed P-3 Orion had its last Blue Angels show alongside its descendent, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon. The Orion is a land-based, long-range and anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft used by the Navy during Vietnam. The Poseidon is a Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) that offers surveillance and reconnaissance, long-range anti-submarine warfare capabilities and search and rescue.

The Blue Angels came out at 3P.M. The team was composed of pilots that are at the top of their craft. The Blues flew six F/A-18 Hornet aircraft Blue Angels 1-4 split into the Diamond Formation and Blue Angels 5 and 6 are the Lead and Opposing Solos. Most of the show alternated between maneuvers performed by the Diamond Formation and those performed by the Solos.

The Blue Angels were originally established by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz as a Navy flight exhibition team on Apr. 24, 1946. The Blue Angels, named after a New York nightclub, were created to build more widespread support among the general population about naval aviation and to lift up naval spirits.