Archive for the ‘flying’ Category

Navy Blue Angels: Aircraft 4 Is Missing; Formations Remain Spectacular

November 2, 2008

When a pilot crashes with his aircraft, the reasons can take months and even years to determine.  When man fails without his machine, the history of mankind tells us the reasons swiftly sometimes….

By Lindsay Kastner
San Antonio Press – News

An afternoon performance by the Navy’s Blue Angels was a crowd-pleaser even though the six-jet squadron flew only five planes Saturday, after two team members were removed from duty last week.

The team members, including one pilot, were removed from duty Oct. 26 after allegations of an inappropriate relationship, Blue Angels spokesman Marine Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger confirmed.

Members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels precision flying team perform ...

Several spectators at the AirFest 2008, part of a weeklong San Antonio salute to the military, said they noticed the show was down a plane, but were unfazed by the absence. Jet number four was clearly missing from the team’s formations.

Mario and Sylvia Perez said they loved Saturday’s show despite the missing plane.

“He kept on asking, ‘Where’s the sixth one? Where’s the sixth one?’” Sylvia Perez said.

Chuck Pollack also noted the vacancy on the team, but wondered if it was combat-related.

“I thought it was perfect the way they were flying,” said Pollack, who last saw the Blue Angels perform four or five years ago.

With just five jets, some formations were changed — for instance the jets flew in a letter V shape instead of their hallmark diamond or delta formation, Dunkleberger said. There are no backup pilots who can step in when one of the Blue Angels is unable to fly, according to the team’s website.

The Blue Angels also flew what is called a “low show” instead of their preferred “high show” Saturday, which limits some maneuvers the pilots can perform. But Dunkleberger said that was a safety decision that had nothing to do with the removal of the two team members.

“The low show was just due to the cloud level today,” he said.

Dunkelberger said the team commonly practices with fewer than six planes and is ready to perform without its full complement of jets.

“That was pretty good, fun, air show as far as I was concerned,” he said, of the demonstration.

Many in the crowd agreed.

“It was super,” said spectator Larry Priest. “They put on an awesome show. It wouldn’t make any difference if they had three planes.”

Dunkelberger would not release the names of the individuals — a male and a female — who are no longer participating in team duties.

“It’s a privacy thing for those individuals,” he said. “It’s administrative in nature, not judicial.”

In addition to flying, the Blue Angels visit schools and hospitals as they tour.

“We have additional people that can fill those roles,” Dunkelberger said, noting that the team also includes C-135 pilots who step in when jet pilots aren’t available.

He said he did not know how long the members might be off the team, saying that has not been determined yet.

“They’ve basically just been relieved of their duties at this point.”

The Blue Angels perform again today at Lackland AFB’s Kelly Field Annex, where AirFest 2008 continues. Their 2008 season ends Nov. 15 after shows at the Kennedy Space Center and at their home base in Pensacola, Fla.

Related:

Navy Blue Angels Flying Today; As In War, Operations Continue Despite Any Setback

Navy Blue Angels Flying Today; As In War, Operations Continue Despite Any Setback

November 1, 2008

The Blue Angels will fly today, one day after it was made public that two team members were removed from duty because of an alleged inappropriate relationship.
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The Blues fly in San Antonio today and Sunday.

On Thursday, the Blue Angels announced that the removal of the team members would force the squadron to fly five jets instead of the standard six jets for the rest of the season, which concludes Nov. 14-15 at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

No new details were released Friday, and the team members’ names have not been made public.

The allegations involve a male and a female team member. The Military Times reported Thursday that one of the individuals is a pilot.

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Related:
Navy Blue Angels: Aircraft 4 Is Missing; Formations Remain Spectacular
When a pilot crashes with his aircraft, the reasons can take months and even years to determine.  When man fails without his machine, the history of mankind tells us the reasons swiftly sometimes….

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The allegations are under review by Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, chief of Naval air training.

–Pensacola News Journal
November 1, 2008

Blue Angels on Delta Formation.jpg
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AP: A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels says the stunt-flying team will be down one jet the rest of its season after removing two members from duty for having an inappropriate relationship.

Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger, a spokesman for the team based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, said Thursday the squadron will finish its last three air shows next month with five jets.

Dunkelberger would not identify the two members but said the relationship was between a man and a woman. All six of the F-18 stunt pilots are men, and 23 of the 133-member squadron are women.

Dunkelberger says a military administrative hearing will be held to determine further disciplinary actions, which could include removal from the military.