On Saturday the 16th of March it was time for the 49th airshow at NAF El Centro, California. Underneath clear blue skies the United States Navy demonstration team the Blue Angles opened their 2019 showseason on their winterhome station. With again a spectacular 40 minute demonstration they showed the capabilities and flyingskills of their six blue F/A-18C/D Hornets and the US Navy and Marines. Ofcourse also Fat Albert was present, flying three times to deploy several parachutists out of the Marines C-130 at various levels.
The four hour flying program started at the end of the morning with the drop of the first parachutist followed by the national anthem and a warm welcome from the station commander Brent Alfonzo. Thereafter a beautiful blue HellCat and a Bearcat flew impressive Blue Angel Tribute followed by the Red Eagle Formation team existing out of several Yak52’s. After these props Greg Colyer took his beautiful T-33 Ace Maker into the Californian Skies, making lots of graceful passes.
Around noon a beautiful red Stearman took off followed 15 minutes later by a rare Japanese Zero and a P-51 Mustang. The Zero simulated an airfield attack complete with loud explosions on the ground after which the P-51 was scrambled to intercept the intruder. By then the decibels above El Centro increased, first by a civil owned, red L-39 called ‘Firecat’ making all kind of loops and turns. Thereafter it was the intention Planes of Fame should simulate a dogfight between a F-86 and a MiG-15. Unfortunately due to medical issues of the pilot the MiG couldn’t fly, but the stunning looking silver colored Sabre flew a highly appreciated show.
By 02.30pm it was time everybody waited for, the start of the demonstration program of the Blue Angels. After all 6 pilots stepped in their blue jets following a strict protocol and engines where started first number 1 till 4 took off forming a tight diamond formation. Thereafter the two solo’s went airborne after which the thousands spectators were treated with impressive formation flying, fast and noisy passes, a spectacular 6 ship looping and much more.