February 1982


Published in the February 1982 issue of Naval Aviation News
Author Unknown
Photo Credit: PH2 Paul O'Mara & PH2 A. McCloskey

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels. Since the beginning of the 1982 air show season in March, the Blues have flown over 30 air show demonstrations in 14 cities in the U.S. The demonstration schedule keeps the squadron on the road from mid-March to mid-November, spending about 250 days away from the home base, NAS Pensacola. The Blues met their largest audience at McGuire AFB, NJ where over 500,000 spectators packed the flight line. By the end of the 1982 season, the 36 year-old demonstration squadron will have been seen by over 162 million people around the world.

The Blue Angels met briefly with President Ronald Reagan last spring before he boarded Air Force One en route to Calif. The pilots presented the President with a framed photo montage and an official Blue Angel ball cap.

Earlier this year Bob Hope arrived at NAF Washington, D.C., to become an honorary member of the Blue Angels. The NBC network was there to film the occasion when the Blues presented Mr. Hope a memento of the event, a 4x5-foot montage of photos of the team. Hope then went up for a short flight in the #7 Blue Angel aircraft, a TA-4J Skyhawk, piloted by Lt. Scott Anderson.

Bob Hope signals thumbs-up as the Blue Angels' #7 aircraft prepares for takeoff.

After they landed, Hope did a television spot from the aircraft for the Navy's Anti-Drug Abuse Program, urging sailors to get their kicks from the challenge and excitement of Navy life rather than drugs. As he exited the aircraft, Hope commented, "It was the smoothest ride I have taken." He also noted, "It's like owning some shares of heaven when you're up there.