How to View a Blue Angels Airshow

The Blue Angels are the United States Navy flight demonstration team. They perform airshows around the United States and at various U.S. military installations around the world, thrilling spectators with their amazing high speed aerial maneuvers. Here are some steps to take to enjoy viewing them in action.


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    Take some time to learn about who and what the Blue Angels are. You can visit their official website at , or just google the phrase Blue Angels. Here are a few facts that might interest you.
    • The Blue Angels fly F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft, a high-performance fight-attack jet designed to be flown from the deck of aircraft carriers.
    • There are 6 aircraft flown at airshows. Four aircraft fly formation maneuvers while the other two are considered solo planes, and do their own stunts either separately, or paired together.
    • A typical airshow flight plan lasts about 50 minutes. Cloudy weather or low visibility conditions can mean the team will fly a low altitude airshow, without the high loops and rolls they are famous for.
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    Check the team schedule to see if they will be performing near your home. If not, consider planning your vacation at one of the sites they will be performing.
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    Consider visiting the home of the Blue Angels, Pensacola Naval Air Station, during the months of April through December, and you can watch their practice shows from the The Naval Aviation Museum, as well as enjoying the beaches of Florida's Emerald Coast. At the Pensacola installation, you can view them practice twice a week, usually Tuesday and Thursday mornings with take-off around 8:30 AM from the viewing area of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, then the pilots come to the museum to sign autographs and answer questions.
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    Be prepared for the long day of activities on the day of the airshow you choose to visit. The Blue Angels perform about 69 shows each year, and last year, 13 million people watched them fly. Most airshows offer much more than just the Blue Angels, however. Static displays of modern and vintage military aircraft, guest stunt pilots in a variety of vintage airplanes, and even aircraft vs. ground vehicle races may be seen, depending on the show you attend.
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    Plan the route to the airshow site beforehand. This step will vary depending on the venue at which the show is performed. Military installations usually decrease security on airshow days, but having basic identification and arriving early will ensure you are admitted to the base. Traffic can be a problem as well, and although the host of each show attempts to provide convenient parking and extra traffic control measures, and early arrival time will still make the trip more pleasant.
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    Bring appropriate clothing for the weather conditions expected on the day of the show. Hot weather on an airfield in the summer can be miserable, and cold winds in the winter can feel like it is cutting you to the bone.
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    Bring lightweight lawn chairs or seat cushions if you are unsure of available on-site seating. Once the excitement of the actual Blue Angels performance begins, you will likely find yourself on your feet to get a better view, but you may expect several hours of other activities before and after the actual flight and being comfortably seated will certainly make the experience more enjoyable.
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    Consider bringing a good camera or video recorder to record the experience. Remember, however, that the action is very fast, so inexperienced photographers may find it difficult to capture it well on film.
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    Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats on bright, sunny days. You won't often find shops or vendors selling these items at the airshow location, and even if they do, the prices will probably be higher than you could find elsewhere. Most, however, will have food vendors near the viewing grounds, and some do permit souvenir sales on the premises.
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    Protect your hearing during the show. One maneuver has all six hornets flying over at a low altitude and the sound of 12 General Electric turbo-fan engines producing tens of thousands of pounds of thrust can be deafening. Be especially careful about taking small children or persons who are sensitive to loud noises.
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    Be prepared for a slow exodus from the show location. Blue Angels performances often draw crowds comparable to large sporting events, but the venues they occur at are not usually designed for that type of traffic.


  • Do some research on admittance requirements for the location of the airshow you plan to attend. Many of the Blue Angels performances are held on military bases.
  • Be courteous to other viewers while watching the performance. This, however, is one show that doesn't require whispering to prevent distracting other nearby spectators.


  • Loud noises are part of the thrill of the airshow.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera or video recorder
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats, depending on the weather
  • Drinks and possibly snacks (some shows have their own concessions and do not permit food or drinks)
  • Lightweight folding chairs if no viewing bleachers are expected to be available
  • Proper identification when entering a military installation to view the show

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Aviation