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Blue Angels: Performance Maneuvers

Three months after establishment in April 1946, the flight exhibition team's first performance took place on June 15.   The Blue Angels name was introduced a month later.   The first performances simulated World War II battles with an SNJ-5 Texan repainted to resemble a Japanese A6M Zero.   The Texan was named "Beetle Bomb" and served until 1950.   In August 1947, the Diamond Formation was introduced, soon followed with the Diamond Loop and the Diamond Barrel Roll.  During the Korean War, the Blue Angels were disbanded in 1950 but returned a year later.   On Armed Forces Day in May 1954, the flight team performed for the first time with the U.S. Air Force's newly formed demonstration, the Thunderbirds.   In 1958, the Back-to-Back Pass and the first six-plane Delta maneuvers were added to the performance.

Introduced in 1962, the Double Farvel maneuver had both the flight leader and slot pilots fly inverted.   The Dirty Loop maneuver, introduced in 1969, allowed aircraft landing gear and flaps to be left down as they climbed directly into a loop.  With the transition to the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, some of the newer maneuvers were able to perform intricate maneuvers with more precision and accuracy. 

Other Resources:

NHHC Blue Angel Focus

Official U.S. Navy Blue Angel Website

Image:  071014-N-5476H-721:  The Blue Angels perform their Delta Formation at the Bay Air Show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, October 14, 2007.   They are flying the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph.