By John Wiley
Is it because of several notable USN pilots in the family, the endearing name of the team, or their exceptional skill that thrills us at a Blue Angels show? How do they compare with the stellar performances of the USAF Thunderbirds?
We didn’t have time to ponder that while watching them roar past near enough to catch some snaps with a fast camera. They were mostly a mile or more away, because all access roads were jammed with thousands trying to get onto the Point Mugu NAS for the full experience and static displays. We watched from near the closed overpass at Hwy.1 that was luckily directly beneath some of their passes. No pix of that, because they were going far too fast to do more than enjoy the thrill and roar. I did manage to get this shot of one in a steep climbing turn perhaps half a mile away.
By the time of their performance the sky was a bright solid overcast and the air had become very hazy. So this long zoom pic of them doing a beautiful tight inverted climb is way overcompensated.
Last up, a pic of one a few seconds after it passed overhead still close enough to see the tail hook extended, reminding the crowd that these pilots routinely land on carriers pounding through the open sea. If it weren’t for the heat waves and bright sky reflecting on the canopy, we’d be able to see the pilot. Do you think they’ll fly again today as scheduled?
By Max Rosenberg
Blue Angels at Point Mugu from above.