While in town for the 2009 Pensacola Beach Air Show, I was extended a very rare opportunity from Senior Chief George Harris of the Blue Angels. On the morning of July 14, George greeted us at the Blue Angels hangar aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola. Being "special guests" of George, we were able to watch the Blues practice from their ramp and tour their squadron and hangar space afterwards. We took our seats on the bleachers next to the team's hangar and watched the maintenance team conduct a FOD (Foreign Object Damage) walkdown on the ramp. The FOD walkdown is done first thing before the team flies to ensure no debris is on the flight line. The smallest item could be ingested into the engine, causing major damage. The pilots then walked out to cheers and applause from the rest of the VIPs gathered on the bleachers. The Blues took off and the weather changed almost immediately, forcing the team to transition from the "high" show to the "flat" show. After the practice was over, the pilots marched down and were once again met with applause from all in the bleachers. George then called out our names - we were going to get a picture taken with the team planeside at Commander McWherter's jet! After our photo, the entire squadron mustered around Boss's jet for "quarters" to go over the plan of the day and upcoming events. George then took us on a tour of the squadron's offices, maintenance shops and hangar. Special thanks to Senior Chief George Harris for this incredible look inside a day in the life of the Blue Angels!
Copyright 2009-2016 Aviation Enthusiasts, LLC. All rights reserved.