OWENSBORO, KY — The rush of six blue and gold jets in a delta formation arrived high above the Ohio River heralding the arrival of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels on Thursday in time for this weekend’s Owensboro Air Show.
Landing one after another on the regional airport’s asphalt runway, the six F/A-18 Hornets were greeted by one of the most distinguished aircraft maintenance teams in the military. Having arrived earlier, the Blue’s maintenance team quickly began fueling and preparing the aircraft for their next flight to begin the team’s twenty-fifth airshow of their 72nd season.
Guests can enjoy great viewing locations for the free show along either bank of the Ohio River. Air show center will be over the west side of the Glover Cary “Blue” Bridge. City officials said the bridge will close for the air show during brief windows on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and on Sunday between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The Blue Angels will fire up their aircraft and taxi out to perform at about 3:10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Their 42-minute flight demonstration will see the first four jets break away from the twin solos as each performs high speed passes and high climbs.
“The fastest speed is about 700 m.p.h. during the popular sneak pass, and the slowest speed is about 120 m.p.h. during the Section High Alpha, both flown by the solo pilots during the show,” Blue Angels spokesperson LCDR David Gardner states.
Lead by Commander Eric Doyle in Angel 1, Doyle is Boss to his fellow Angels. The Diamond Team includes LCDR Damon Kroes flying Angel 2 on the right wing, Major Jeff Mullins flying Angel 3 on the left wing, and LCDR Nate Scott flying Angel 4 in the slot position. The two solo pilots in Angels 5 and 6 — the two Hornets pushing the envelope of what the Hornet can do — are lead solo LCDR Tyler Davies lying Angel 5 and opposing solo LCDR Brandon Hempler piloting Angel 6.
Top civilian aircraft scheduled to perform include national aerobatic champion Rob Holland, pilot Matt Younkin piloting his Beech 18 aircraft, and the popular Class of ’45 aircraft duo of Scott Yoak’s P-51D Mustang Quicksilver, and Jim Tobul’s F4U Corsair nicknamed The Korean War Hero.
Known as the BBQ capital of the world, Owensboro is home to great food found along the riverfront. Guests arriving into the downtown district will want to arrive for an early lunch and to locate that special viewing spot. Parking will also fill up early.
“Parking is available throughout downtown Owensboro both in garages, surface parking lots, and on-street parking,” Owensboro Special Events Coordinator Erica Pedley said on Thursday. “The majority of the parking downtown is free, however some private lots or garages may charge a minimal fee.”
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)