Feb. 23–The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels are returning next year to headline the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show.
Set for the weekend of April 14-15, 2018, it will mark the elite flight demonstration team’s fifth appearance in Tuscaloosa since 2009.
“The Blue Angels deciding once again to come back to Tuscaloosa is a testament to our engaging, supportive community,” Mayor Walt Maddox said in a news release announcing the Blue Angels’ return. “The community, volunteers and partnering agencies take great pride in our regional shows.”
The team’s 2015 show — its most recent — drew its largest crowds to date, with an estimated 163,000 taking in the festivities between March 28-29 of that year.
The Blue Angels have performed at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The Blue Angels are an 18-member squad of Navy and Marine Corps pilots that visit between 30 and 35 sites across the country each year to give an average of 60 to 70 performances in the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marine Corps’ C-130 “Fat Albert” aircraft.
For the Hornet pilots, the maneuvers can range from about 200 feet off the ground to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, with some of them — the Diamond, for example — bringing the planes within 18 inches from wingtip to the adjacent canopy.
In the past, Blue Angels representatives have said repeat performances are no guarantee. But a heavy local turnout — the last Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show brought out about 50,000 people in 2012, city officials said — is critical to bringing the Blue Angels back to an area.
For more information on the Blue Angels, visit www.blueangels.navy.mil.
For info on the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show, visit www.tuscaloosaregionalairshow.com.