A pair of Blue Angels pilots made contact against each other during Wedesday’s Pensacola Beach flyover with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds.
The planes suffered very minor damage — “trading paint,” as when NASCAR stock cars rub up against each other without causing any serious harm.
The incident happened while the jets were flying in the Delta formation, according to Lt. Joe Hontz, spokesman for the Blue Angels.
“Two of the jets in the Blue Angel Delta formation encountered unexpected wake turbulence,” Hontz said, “causing a very brief and minor contact between the aircraft.”
According to another Navy official, who spoke on background, the aircraft required minor maintenance following the paint-swap but are currently back in service.
“It is a testament to the training of the pilots that this incident remained very benign,” Hontz said. “The Blue Angels train in an environment where they fly extremely close — inches away from one another — and are fully prepared to respond and recover should minor contact occur.”
The incident came less than a year after Blue Angels pilot and Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss died after his plane crashed shortly after take-off in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Both pilots involved in Wednesday’s incident have been cleared to resume normal operations and are with the team in Beaufort, South Carolina, where they will headline the MCAS Beaufort Airshow today.
This story was originally reported by Jon Simkins of Navy Times.