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In Pensacola, we just call them “Our Blues”

Every year, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron performs perilous maneuvers in exhibitions over dozens of communities around the country, but only in Pensacola can we call them, "Our Blues."

The Navy's Blue Angels call Pensacola Naval Air Station home. Locals are accustomed to seeing the team of distinctive blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets flying in tight formations over the city and over the water during routine practices from March to November every year.

Pensacola Shows

Twice a year, the Blues enthrall local audiences with free, public air shows that include other military and civilian aeronautic teams. In July, the Blues awe hundreds of thousands of spectators on Pensacola Beach, and in November, they close their season with a homecoming show at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Spectators often audibly gasp at the maneuvers in the shows – fancy flying that brings the planes as close as 18 inches together, to altitudes as high as 15,000 feet and speeds as fast as 700 miles per hour – a velocity approaching Mach 1.

Watch Practices

While the Blues’ practice schedule varies, the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola Naval Air Station hosts viewing events on select Wednesdays during the practice season. Blue Angel team members often come to visit the viewers following these practices, signing autographs and answering questions.

These practices usually begin at 11:30 a.m. and last about 55 minutes. 

70 Years of the Blues

The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 “to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.”

Top Navy and Marine pilots usually serve two-to-three years with the Blues. In addition to the Hornets, the team includes a C-130T Hercules aircraft, nicknamed "Fat Albert.” While Fat Albert is a cargo plane used to help move the team’s equipment from venue to venue, it also takes part in the shows and is a fan favorite.

The Blues’ team includes a total of 16 officers and more than 100 enlisted sailors and Marines.

Any Blues show is a treat to the aviation addict and novice alike, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a show or practice in Pensacola, you earn the right to call them “Our Blues,” too.

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