VBAS 2022: Blue Angels Saturday

The Saturday performance of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels was challenging photographically due to a mostly overcast sky. The glare from the white clouds turned the normally colorful aircraft into silhouettes making for drab images. Still, the show outran the weather to a certain extent with briefly sunny blue skies helping to get some good images. Here is a gallery of images of the Blue Angels flying their Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet E/F jet planes during the Saturday, 30 April 2022 performance at the Vero Beach Air Show.

More images coming of the Sunday performance in the next post.

Some interesting facts from the Blue Angels web page:

Where did the name “Blue Angels” originate?
The name was picked by the original team when they were planning a show in New York in 1946. One of them came across the name of the city’s famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker Magazine.

How long is a Blue Angel tour of duty?
Officers on the team generally serve two to three years, while the enlisted personnel serve three to four years. Each member, both officers and enlisted, return to the fleet after completing a tour with the Blue Angels.

What is considered minimum visibility for a Blue Angel performance?
To be able to perform, the Blue Angels must have at least three nautical miles of visibility horizontally from centerpoint, and a minimum cloud ceiling of 1,500 feet, which the FAA can waive to 1,000 feet. At these minimums, the Blue Angels can perform a limited number of maneuvers in what is called a “flat” show. When the ceiling is at least 4,500 feet and visibility at least three nautical miles, a “low” show can be performed, which includes some rolling maneuvers. With a minimum ceiling of 8,000 feet and visibility of three nautical miles, the Blue Angels can perform their “high” show, which includes all the maneuvers.

How do you produce the smoke, and why do you use it?
The smoke is produced by pumping biodegradable, paraffin-based oil directly into the exhaust nozzles of the aircraft, where the oil is instantly vaporized into smoke. The smoke provides a traceable path for spectators to follow, so they can see the flight profile that has been flown. It also enhances safety of flight by providing a valuable means by which the solo pilots can see each other during opposing maneuvers and conditions of lowered visibility or haze. The smoke poses no hazard to the environment.

What is the closest distance the jets fly to each other?
The closest the diamond will fly to each other is 18 inches during the Diamond 360 maneuver.

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