Experience the exhilaration: Blue Angels to fly at AirFest 2018

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - As Tampa Bay AirFest 2018 quickly approaches, it seems to be an appropriate time to learn about the thrilling aerial performances set to awe and amaze those who will be in attendance.

In recognition of the support received from the Tampa Bay community, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is scheduled to open its gates on May 12 and 13, 2018, and deliver an airshow on what has been previously awarded as the “best military show site.”

This year, the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, better known as the Blue Angels, will be soaring over the skies of MacDill as the headlining aerial display team.

As the second oldest flying aerobatic team in the world, the Blue Angels mission is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to the country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.

“In our 72nd year, we're confident that the culture of excellence underscoring every Blue Angels performance will motivate our fans to strive for greatness and follow their dreams,” said U.S. Navy Commander Eric Doyle, the Blue Angles commanding officer and flight leader. “We sincerely hope that whether this is the first, second or 72nd time you have seen us fly, the sight and sound of a Blue Angels performance delivers pride and exhilaration, an appreciation for teamwork and precision, and the inspiration to achieve excellence!”

This high-flying team’s rich history began in 1946 after the Chief of Naval Operations at the time, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team as a means to raise the public’s interests in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. Since then, the Blue Angels have thrilled approximately 500 million spectators with their precision aerial combat maneuvers.

“With each performance, the Blue Angels strive to embody the commitment to excellence and passion our predecessors had for naval aviation,” said Doyle. “It is an honor to perform and humbling to represent our fellow service members.”

During their aerobatic performances, the Angels fly six F/A-18 Hornet aircrafts anywhere from 120 mph to 700 mph at distances as close as 18 inches, while executing maneuvers such as formation loops, rolls, opposing passes and mirror formations.

“Our airshow provides us the opportunity to welcome the great people of the Tampa Bay community and thank them for their support,” said U.S. Air Force Col. April Vogel, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing. “It is also an opportunity to inspire future generations that could one day become mobility Airmen.”

Along with the Blue Angels, AirFest 2018 is slated to include performances from the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor demonstration teams, along with other aerial performers and various static displays.

For up-to-date information on Tampa Bay AirFest 2018 visit www.macdill.af.mil/AirFest-2018/.