ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Graduates will often visit their old school but few fly over it at hundreds of miles per hour.
Alex DeMetrick reports that’s how members of the Blue Angels will be traveling as they jet over the Naval Academy for the first time in four years.
Naval Academy graduations end with hats in the air and, whenever possible, they start with jets–a flyover salute by the Navy’s Blue Angels.
“I can remember 12 years ago when I was graduating, seeing the Blue Angels flying. It was such an amazing experience and now to be part of it is kind of surreal, actually,” said Blue Angels pilot Lieutenant Commander Dave Tickle.
Tickle will fly as a Blue Angel this week over Annapolis and the graduation. The group barely took off last year during the sequestration when the Navy and just about every other federal agency was forced to make budget cuts. Prior to that, scheduling conflicts kept the Blue Angels out of Annapolis.
After a four year absence, they’re winging back for Commencement Week.
“I’ve flown over Annapolis a couple of times before but never as a Blue Angel,” Tickle said. “This will be my first time doing it as part of an air show.”
That show will be staged Wednesday over the Severn River next to the Naval Academy. It’s a demonstration of precision flying that can thrill spectators but is another day at the office for the pilots.
The Blue Angels are also a potent recruiting tool for naval aviation.
“I’d never heard or seen the Blue Angels before and no kidding, my first year as a plebe, I was kind of walking around town and the Blue Angels flew overhead and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen,” said Blue Angels pilot, Lieutenant Mark Tedrow.
It still is.
The Blue Angels air show Wednesday starts at 2 p.m. and is free to the public.
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