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Watch: The Blue Angels Were Reborn When They Flew The A-4F Skyhawk

Some Say The Skyhawk Years Were The Best Years For The Blues. Take A Look And Decide For Yourself.

Official US Navy Photograph

The United States Navy (USN) Precision Flight Demonstration Squadron. Otherwise known as The Blue Angels, began flying performances in the Douglas A-4F Skyhawk in 1975. Compared to the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II aircraft they had flown for the previous four years, the diminutive Skyhawk was a more maneuverable and economical aircraft but lacked the raw power of the Phantom II. There are those who say the Phantoms were hands-down the best airshow performers the Blue Angels ever flew. Others swear by the Skyhawk. In the film “Portrait:  The Blue Angels” uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm, you’ll see just how impressive the Blues were while flying Heinemann’s Hot Rod.

Official US Navy Photograph

Along with the equipment change the Blues underwent a reorganization which established a commanding officer / flight leader billet and added supplemental support officers. The squadron’s core mission was “redefined” to emphasize support of recruiting, but nobody who ever saw a Blue Angels performance doubted the effectiveness of the Blues in that regard. Though they went from flying the Mach 2.2 Phantom II to the subsonic Scooter, the Blues still entertained and yes, inspired. They have been doing both since their first performance in 1946.

Official US Navy Photograph

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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