Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Enjoy Blue Angels... with 27,000 of Our "Closest Friends"

The day is perfect. The sky is a brilliant blue, the temperature is a nice 60 degrees and there is very little wind.

We were so excited… we somehow ended up in Pensacola the day the Blue Angels had their first practice show in over a year.  This is a practice of the show the Blue Angels perform around the country.  Due to budget cuts, in 2013 the Angels only performed two shows.  Previously the largest crowd on record was 14,000 people.  Today 25,780 people stood or sat together thrilled by the show.  We could feel the excitement in the crowd.

We arrived 3 hours before the practice show was scheduled to start.  We thought we would have plenty time to go through the National Naval Aviation Museum.  I mean really… 3 hours is early even for us (generally referred to as "Price Time").   As we drove into the parking lot, we were directed to the back of the parking lot—right next to the entrance of the upcoming show.

We walked back over to the Aviation Museum and quickly went through a couple of the buildings of various Naval aircrafts and memorabilia.

As we were walking through the museum, we realize the crowds of people are rapidly increasing.  We start making our way back to the practice field for the practice show.

We were sitting in our jeep waiting for the show to start when a couple walked by the jeep talking about having seen “Colorado Springs” on our license plate.  They did not realize we were sitting IN the jeep.  We got out and started visiting.  We found out they also are from Colorado Springs.  We now have new friends, Lee and Ruth Ann Baldwin.  We visited for the next several hours, while enjoying the show together.  We are looking forward to a time when we may be able to connect again.

There were volunteers everywhere, ready with a friendly smile, information or directions.   Throughout the show, Dave, gave us information and entertainment.  His knowledge of the Blue Angels and their show is amazing.  He directed our eyes to the approaching planes.  He pointed us toward their entry and the direction they would be flying.

The Blue Angels were established in 1946 in an effort to boost Navy morale, demonstrate naval air power and maintain public interest in a naval aviation program.  This program can cost up to $37 million.  Programs like the Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds increase public and political support.  I'm a believer! These Blue Angels often defy physics with their amazing aerial feats.  They thundered past us.  They climbed vertically into the sky appearing to reach heaven.

The fastest speed these planes reach during a show is 700 mph; although they are able to fly up to 1400 mph (just under Mach 2, almost twice the speed of sound).

These amazingly skilled pilots may soar vertically as high as 15,000 feet.

One of the fly by maneuvers seemed to be only 50 feet off the ground.

The smoke the planes produce is biodegradable, paraffin-based oil.  It poses no hazard to the environment.  The oil is instantly vaporized into smoke.

Although, we both wore ear plugs, I cannot describe how loud it was.  We could hear it and we could FEEL it.  It was thrilling!

They blaze pass each other, appearing only inches apart.

Some fly upside down, while the plane inches off their wing fly right side up.

As the show finished, we were left with a feeling of awe.  A reminder of how Proud we are to be American.
As you can tell, we loved this show.  I tried to think of one word to describe how we felt about the show…  Fabulous, Amazing, Outstanding, Mighty, Impressive, Stunning…Spectacular. I guess one word just does not do it.

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