I am definitely not a military person though I live in a Navy city, yet the air show which alternates being held over the ocean at Jacksonville beaches and at the Naval Air Station inspires me with the might of the US military. Almost everyone has heard of the Blue Angels, but not everyone has had them roaring over their house sending the cats under the bed and scattering the birds. When you hear those engines, you feel the power.
While there is much air power worthy of notice in the show-- acrobatic prop planes, rescue helicopters, parachute teams, and so many different jets I don't know them all, it is the Blue Angels everyone waits to see. Their performance is always the last act of the show, and no one is ever disappointed.
Two days before the air show, the Blue Angels practice, loudly, over the beaches area. They soar over parking lots, houses, and along the shoreline of the beach. Friday, before the show, I was outside and three Blue Angel planes flew over my back yard. It seemed as if they barely cleared the tree tops. The noise was deafening, but it was very exciting.
This air show was also a commemoration of the 237th birthdays of the United States Navy and the Marines. The day was perfect, no wind, blue skies with no clouds any where. It was a beautiful day on the beach.
Jacksonville has a special connection with the Angels. They originated at the Naval Air Station here in 1946. Their first public performance was at Craig Air Field in Jacksonville. They flew Grumman F-6F Hellcats in the beginning, later transitioning to Grumman F-8F Bearcats. By the end of the 1940's, they flew their first jets, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. Many planes and bases of operation later, they now fly the McDonnell-Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet. Presently, they operate out of Forrest Sherman Field at NAS Pensacola, FL.
They do about 70 air shows per year.
Fat Albert always makes an appearance at the Blue Angels show.
He is a gigantic, slow cargo plane.
We watch the show from the beach, condo balconies, streets,
and beach access ramps.
People set up tents and also watch from their boats. In this photo, a
Coast Guard boat can be seen at the left edge of the picture.
One Angel straight, one upside down.
5 Angels dive
Jets are not the only features of the air show. These little red-nosed prop planes were a hit also.