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Blue Angels’ return to Oregon International Air Show helps spur ticket sales (video)

 
The Blue Angels haven’t headlined the Oregon International Air Show since 2007. But the wait is over as the famed jet team will fly in next week for the 2015 show, July 17-19, and perform at the Hillsboro Airport Saturday and Sunday.
The Blue Angels, the official flight demonstration team of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, drew 93,000 people the last time they performed in Hillsboro – significantly more than the 81,000 who turned out last year. And healthy ticket sales so far this year may reflect increased excitement due to the eight-year wait for the Blue Angels’ return, air show spokesperson Herb Gillen said in early June.
“We’ve sold out of a few of our premium seating areas a little earlier than normal this year,” Gillen said. “The president’s club is completely sold out for Saturday and Sunday. … It’s happening a little bit earlier than normal. … This is the first time since 2007 that the Blue Angels have appeared at the show, so I’m sure there’s some pent-up demand there.”
Amber Lynn Daniel, the Blue Angels’ public affairs officer who attended Southern Oregon University, said the team is on the road 300 days a year and performs 68 shows at 35 locations.
“There’s nothing we love more than performing for a big crowd,” she said.
A Blue Angels show typically begins with the C-130T Hercules aircraft, dubbed “Fat Albert” because of its size. Fat Albert performs “a lot of exciting, dynamic maneuvers for such a large plane,” Daniel said.
A team of six Boeing F/A-18 Hornets then performs for about 40 minutes, Daniel said, showcasing the acrobatic capabilities of the jets. Pilots must have accrued 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours to fly a Blue Angels jet, according to the team’s website.
Daniel said she has been telling the pilots all about Oregon.
“I have been bragging about Oregon nonstop,” she said. “I have been telling them that despite the reputation of rain, it’s not raining 24/7 there. … They’re going to be blown away by our mountains.”
Enlisted members of the Blue Angels come from the ranks of the Navy and Marine Corps and typically serve three-year terms, after which they return to the fleet.
“We are really, really excited to be coming to Hillsboro, and we appreciate the community’s support,” Daniel said.
Other attractions at the air show include, among others, an F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration and the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron, meant to create interest in the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the American military.
“I think people are recognizing that it’s a family-friendly place to be,” Gillen said of the air show. “And we’re bringing in world-class performers.”

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