Now that the some of our government's budget management crisis has been relieved, the Blue Angels flight team is back in business. This last week, we decided to catch their practice routine. You can watch the show just off the flight line behind the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. We thought we would get there early and spend some time in the museum. But like many best laid plans, when we arrived over an hour before practice began, we found hundreds of people already lined up awaiting the gate to the flight line to open.
By the time we exited the car and got our bearings, the gate was open and the crowd was pouring in. So we followed the herd and got some great bleacher seats right on the flight line. This should be a great show with a forecast of partly cloudy and light winds. Our waiting period allowed me to practice my camera shots on various other aircraft that were taking off from the field. In-between several volunteers from the museum entertained us with various stories and facts.
Finally, the time arrived and on the dot, the Blue Angels started out onto the runway. I could not help but notice that the wind had picked up and the clouds were building. They took off and did several formation passes and a single dual head-on maneuver. Then 12 minutes into the routine, they suddenly appeared off the end of the runway and landed and taxied by us. They were forced to cut short their practice and our entertainment due to increasing low cloud cover. Almost all off their show formations require visual clues and th e ability to climb high at steep angels while seeing the horizon and each other. Bottom line is low clouds and high speeds mean very high risk. So, as they went by, everyone waved and cheered and likely vowed to come back for another go, hoping for better weather.
After leaving the flight line, we made a quick stop in the museum. It has excellent exhibits and lots of history. However, we prefer to visit when there are not several thousand disappointed Blue Angels fans wandering around.