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The Journey to be a Navy Blue Angel: What does it take to fly?

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – Since 1946 the US Navy’s Blue Angels have captivated crowds with their jaw dropping flips and maneuvers.

Lieutenant Lance Benson has been a part of the six-man air show team for close to two years.

Something he’s always had interest in.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be a military pilot or civilian pilot but definitely had an interest and got the opportunity to join the military and this opportunity came along as well,” Benson said. “So it’s definitely blessing.”

So how did Benson become a Blue Angels pilot?

He says it involved flight school, learning to fly the F/A 18 Hornet, another three years of training and finally putting in an application like any other job.

“It’s almost as if you’re in the Navy trying to apply for a different job in the Navy,” Benson said. “It would be the exact same thing as if you were applying for your job here at the TV station. You put in a resume, put some good references on there, get some letters of recommendation. It’s the exact same process.”

Benson says once you become a pilot you get the travel the country doing daring tricks in top speed.

There are many words to describe the show that the Angels put on, but Benson says it’s “inspiring.”

“It’s absolutely inspiring and that’s actually a part of our mission statement for this year,” Benson said. “Mission statement is to inspire culture of excellence and service to country through our flight demonstrations and community outreach.”

The Blue Angels will be at the Memphis Air Show on May 13-14 at 3:00 p.m at Memphis-Millington Airport.