Blue Angels News

Navy Blue Angels, F-22s arrive for Melbourne air show




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“I was one of those kids. I saw them when I was 6 years old,” Frosch
said of a Blue Angels appearance at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount Clemens, Michigan.
“And our whole goal is to inspire these kids to strive for excellence and serve in some capacity,” Frosch said.
Also arriving this morning Melbourne: Two F-22 Raptors and two F-16 Fighting Falcons. These Air Force combat jets parked in a high-security area on “Taxiway Mike” at the northwest corner of the airport.
Craig “Rocket” Baker is a pilot with the F-16 Viper Demo Team, and he refers to the ear-splitting roars generated by the Blue Angels as “the sound of freedom.” He said this weekend will mark his South Carolina-based team’s first air show performance since 2011 because of congressional sequestration.
 “When we fly these planes in combat, they’re going to have missile and bombs on there. We can press one button and transform the aircraft into the machine you see today. That allows the airplane to fly as it was designed to fly,” Baker said, gesturing at the F-16s behind him on the tarmac. “What fans can expect to see when they come out to the
show is a demonstration of that performance — a lot of high-G turns, a lot of loud noise. Generally, a good time,” he said.
John Cummings is team commander of the F-22 Raptor Demo Team, which reported to Melbourne from Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City. He said he is looking forward to the air show’s “heritage flights” for historical aviation buffs.
“We’re going to have a P-51 Mustang – a World War II-era fighter airplane – and the F-16 fourth-generation jet fighter and the F-22. So it’ll be a fairly unique three-ship. This will actually be the only place that we fly that formation all year,” Cummings said. In addition to Blue Angel interactions, Aerospace Career Day students attended Northrop Grumman and Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter presentations before touring the MidairUSA hangar.
Melbourne High culinary arts students prepared Blue Angels personnel a lunch of baked ziti with meatballs, Italian sausage with green peppers and onions, garlic knots, Caesar salad, mango tea and cookies, said Michael Ferguson, chef instructor.
Brevard School Board Member Andy Ziegler experienced the Blue Angels firsthand during a 45-minute VIP flight Wednesday afternoon with Capt. Jeff Kuss. The duo flew up the coast to Kennedy Space Center, looping around the Vehicle Assembly Building and rocket launch pads. Ziegler said Kuss put him through the wringer: He passed out during a 7.5-G maneuver. “It was a roller coaster.
It was intense. More physically challenging than anything I’ve ever done in my life, and I’ve done the Tough Mudder before. And this was way more difficult,” Ziegler said. “These guys are like super, super athletes,” he said.
Bryan Lilley, air show director, said the event’s Marine Corps V-22 Ospreys should arrive at the airport between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Friday. Civilianperformers will “filter in” throughout the day, and rehearsal flights by the Blue Angels and other aircraft will continue during working hours.
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