A Blue Angels flight demonstration exhibits choreographed refinements of skills possessed by all naval aviators. The Blue Angels’ C-130, affectionately known as Fat Albert, begins each demonstration by exhibiting its maximum performance capabilities during a ten-minute performance. Shortly thereafter, you will see the graceful aerobatic maneuvers of the four-jet Diamond Formation, in concert with the fast-paced, high-performance maneuvers of its two Solo pilots. Finally, the team illustrates the pinnacle of precision flying, performing maneuvers locked as a unit in the renowned, six-jet Delta Formation.
Wings of Blue USAF Academy Jump Team
The Wings of Blue have a long standing commitment to personal and organizational excellence as well as a storied history of success. While the airspace that the Wings of Blue operates in is one of the busiest in the world, their drop zone is one of the safest. The primary mission of the Wings of Blue is to run the Air Force’s Basic Freefall Parachuting course, known as Airmanship 490 (AM-490). Members of the team serve primarily as jumpmasters and instructors for this course, devoting most of their time to teaching students about parachuting and training them to make unassisted freefall skydives. AM-490 is the only certified first-jump program in the world where students can make their first freefall jump without assistance. Each year, over 700 cadets are given the opportunity to take AM-490 and earn their jump wings.
Jim Peitz performs an aerobatic routine in a Beechcraft F33C Bonanza. One of the very few Aerobatic Bonanza’s ever built, Jim is guaranteed to turn heads in this plane – loops, point rolls, barrel rolls, snap rolls, Cuban eights, hammerheads (yes, this Bonanza goes vertical!) and more. With a smoke system included, this is the act air show fans will talk about long after the show.
Lucas Oil Pitts
Mike Wiskus brings the Lucas Oil Pitts to the Air Races this year. The Pitts S-1-11B was the last design of the famous Pitts Special line. The airplane is one of the few, if not the only, unlimited type aircraft that can be built from scratch. (With a set of plans that is.)
Known as the Super Stinker, the S-1-11B was created for competition aerobatics, a field that was becoming more and more dominated by monoplanes. What’s more, Mike took this particular Super Stinker to a silver medal in the 2004 world championships in Sweden.
Mike has owned a number of Pitts aircraft over the years. He has owned the Lucas Oil Pitts S-1-11B, which he rebuilt after purchasing the plane on EBay as a wreck, since 2000.
Smoke ‘n Thunder Jet Car
Out on the taxiway you can hear the deafening roar of an engine and see billowing clouds of smoke. You can feel the reverberations of mini sonic booms. You look up and realize it’s not an aircraft. In front of you is the Smoke ‘nThunder Jet Car preparing to accelerate.
Before beginning his show, Bill Braack, driver, slowly drives past the crowd. He engages the afterburner which shoots 20-foot flames, produces billowing smoke and mini sonic booms.
At the end of the runway, the jet car comes to a standstill. An airplane above has challenged Bill to a race. Jaws drop as the aircraft approaches. Bill is signaled by his crew member “Scuba” Steve Uhrich, that the aircraft is directly overhead. He kicks in the afterburner and accelerates the jet car—he races at speed approaching 400 mph and overtakes the plane in seconds. Bill is pulling 4.5 Gs. As he deploys the parachute to bring the car to a stop, he experiences 11 Gs of negative force. Eyes blinking, the crowd is astonished at what it just witnessed.