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The U.S. Navy Blue Angels

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A total of 16 officers voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels. Each
year the team typically selects three tactical (fighter or
fighter/attack) jet pilots, two support officers and one Marine Corps
C-130 pilot to relieve departing members.

The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the “Boss,” the Blue Angels
commanding officer. Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet
flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding
Officer flies the Number 1 jet.

The Chief of Naval Air Training also selects the “XO,” the Blue
Angels executive officer. The XO is a Naval Flight Officer and must have
at least 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours.

Career-oriented Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots with an aircraft
carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours
are eligible for positions flying jets Number 2 through 7.

The Events Coordinator, Number 8, is a Naval Flight Officer or a
Weapons Systems Officer who meets the same criteria as Numbers 2 through
7. The Marine Corps pilots flying the C-130T Hercules aircraft,
affectionately known as “Fat Albert,” must be aircraft commander
qualified with at least 1,200 flight hours.

Career-oriented officers specializing in maintenance, administration,
aviation medicine, public affairs and supply fill support positions.
The Blue Angels base their selection of officers on professional
ability, military bearing and communication skills. Blue Angels officers
are well-rounded representatives of their fleet counterparts.

Officers typically serve two years with the team. Blue Angels officers return to the fleet after their tours of duty.

The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and
professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a
culture of excellence and service to country through flight
demonstrations and community outreach.

In 2016, the Blue Angels will celebrate their 70th anniversary. Since
1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 484 million fans.

The Blue Angels have flown more than 10 different aircraft in the team’s 70 year history.

Originally, the team flew four aircraft in the signature “Diamond”
formation and expanded to six aircraft to showcase both the diamond and
solos high performance capability as well as the precision formation
flying taught to all Naval Aviators.

Today, the squadron flies the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules.

When the squadron receives a F/A-18 Hornet from the fleet, which are
at the end of their carrier arrestment functionality, we make a variety
of modifications, including removing the nose cannon to install a
smoke-fluid system, inverting a fuel pump, installing a stop watch and
adjustable constant-tension stick spring, as well as the world-wide
recognizable paint scheme.

The first Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO) performance by “Fat Albert”
took place at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., in November 1975.

Eight solid fuel JATO rocket bottles, each producing 1,000 pounds of
thrust, helped propel Fat Albert skyward and captivated millions of
spectators each year.

These JATO bottles were produced in the Vietnam era to help aircraft
take off from short, unimproved runways at heavy weights. The last known
stockpile of JATO bottles were expended during the Blue Angels’ 2009
show season and ended with the last JATO performance for Fat Albert at
the NAS Pensacola, Fla., Air Show in November 2009.

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