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Blue Angels Schedule

Blue Angels descend this weekend

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The U.S. Navy’s world-renowned Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron returns to the Lower Keys with an electrifying exhibition of flying skills April 2 and 3 for the 2016 Southernmost Air Spectacular.

Presented by Naval Air Station Key West, the air show takes place at NAS Key West’s Boca Chica Field, mile marker 8 on U.S. 1. Gates are to open at 9 a.m. both days, with the show slated to begin at 10 a.m. The last time the Blue Angels performed in Key West was 2013.

NAS Key West was the winter home of the Blue Angels in the 1960s. The squadron dates back to 1946 and is famed for its brilliant formation flying and skilled demonstration of maneuvers that are employed in aerial combat.

The Blue Angels, whose shows are viewed by an estimated 11 million spectators each year, are to perform in F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft beginning at 2:30 p.m. both days of the show.

Other planned show highlights include demonstrations by the Navy Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-122 Flying Eagles, Fighter Squadron Composite VFC-111 Sun Downers and Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team.

Also scheduled are civilian aerobatic exhibitions including Mike Goulian, pilot and free-fly skydiver Melissa Pemberton, 25-year performer Bill Gordon, third-generation pilot Matt Younkin and Greg Shelton with wing-walker Ashley Battles. Three-time World Aerobatic Championships freestyle winner Rob Holland is to perform solo and with Jack Knutson as the Firebirds X-treme, while showman Skip Stewart is to fly his custom-built biplane Prometheus.

In addition to the actual air show, spectators can enjoy aircrafts on display, an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales, a kids’ zone, virtual games and other displays at vendor booths. Food, beverages and souvenirs are to be available for purchase.

General admission to the air show is free, as is parking, and spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Alternatively, attendees can purchase general-admission bleacher seats or assigned box seats on the tarmac. Coolers are not allowed.