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After Long Absence, Blue Angels Return to Alliance This Weekend

After a five-year absence, the U.S. Navy’s famous “Blue Angels” fighter jet stunt team will perform at this weekend at the 25th annual Alliance Air Show.
The squadron of six F/A-18 fighter jets arrived at Alliance Airport at about 10 a.m. Thursday to start preparing for performances on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
The squadron also involves a 7th F/A-18 fighter jet which arrives at the air show site several days ahead of schedule to start advanced preparations. The pilot of that jet also serves as the announcer for the show.
There’s also a team of dozens of Navy support and maintenance staff. For this weekend’s Fort Worth show, there are about 70 Navy personnel on-site, including the pilots.

Lt Matt Suyderhoud, a Blue Angels pilot who joined the team a year ago, said the Diamond 360 maneuver is his favorite.
“Andy and I, No. 3, our wing-tips are six inches apart. The Boss’s wingtip will be right up here. If there wasn’t a canopy I could reach out and touch him,” said Suyderhoud. “I saw my first Blue Angels show when I was three-years-old and that got me into aviation — and same with my brother. It inspired me from then on and now I get to return the favor. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
The Alliance Air Show starts Saturday at about 10 a.m. The Blue Angels will perform in the mid-afternoon both days.
The Air Show is celebrating its 25th year and while the public show is on the weekend, there are Friday events, as well.

On Friday, students from aviation
programs in Fort Worth ISD, Birdville ISD and Northwest ISD will attend
the air show, where they’ll be able to watch and physically touch the
planes they may be discussing in class.
“We
have actually had some of the kids up in airplanes with some of our
performers this week, which is obviously very cool,” said Tom
Harris, President of Alliance Air/Aviation Services, Hillwood
Properties.
September is Aviation Appreciation
Month in Fort Worth, meaning the air show is more than just
entertainment, but a chance for the city to celebrate an industry that,
councilman Zim Zimmerman says, employs roughly one in three people,
through primary or secondary jobs.
“We
always talk about we’re the city of Cowboys and Culture, we ought to
put wings on them because without aviation, we would not be near the
city we are today,” Zimmerman said. 
And
the celebration of aviation goes beyond just this weekend at Alliance
Airport. On September 25 and 26, the Red Bull Air Races return to Texas
Motor Speedway.

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