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Blue Angels pay a visit to the Keys in anticipation of spring air show

U.S. Navy Lt. Tyler Davies and U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Corrie Mays land
at Boca Chica field Monday afternoon in preparation for the Blue Angels’
April show. The last time they performed in Key West was in 2013.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Corrie Mays was a ballerina growing
up. She still graces the air, however, but as a naval flight officer.
Mays is an events coordinator for perhaps the U.S. Navy’s most notable
group of air professionals — the Blue Angels demonstration team.
“I’ve
shared a passion for aviation my entire life,” Mays said shortly after
landing the Blue Angels No. 7 F/A-18 jet with Navy Lt. Tyler Davies
Monday afternoon on the Boca Chica field at Naval Air Station Key West.
The
Blue Angels are scheduled to return to Boca Chica Field in April for
their semi-annual Southernmost Air Spectacular, a show of aviation
skill.
The last time the Blue Angels staged a Key West show was in
2013 — their second and final show that year because the U.S.
government shut down due to budget fights in Congress. The other show
was at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.
The Blue Angels squad,
based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, was at NAS Key West Monday and
Tuesday to work on logistics of this year’s show.
“They call it a
preseason visit, they basically meet the entire air show committee,” NAS
Key West spokeswoman Trice Denny said Tuesday. “What they told us today
is they try to make every single show exactly the same.”
Mays,
who has been in the Marines for nine years, loves to fly jets. Her
flight training includes rides on a T-6 Texan, T-1 Jayhawk and T-39
Saberliner, to name a few.
She jumped at the opportunity to become
a Blue Angel last year and serves as the unit’s events coordinator. The
application process took about seven months. An applicant typically
needs at least 1,250 flight hours.
“This is something I would absolutely love to do,” Mays recalled before being selected.
The
Blue Angels spend about 300 days a year traveling the country, but Mays
said it’s not just about the shows, but also community outreach. She
said the Blue Angels “inspire a culture of excellence,” allowing people
to realize their “full potential.”
“We’re not primarily just concerned with recruiting anymore,” she said.
Each Blue Angels show involves maneuvers in six F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircrafts and a C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The
March 2013 show had an estimated 36,000 people attend over two days —
not including those who were watching from outside the base. This year’s
show is scheduled for April 2 and 3 at the Boca Chica field with the
Blue Angels scheduled to go on at 3 p.m. each day. Other events are part
of the show.
Denny said gates open at 10 a.m. 

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