January 22, 2019 – U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, reached a major milestone in their annual winter training, Jan. 19, when they completed their first set of training flights over the airfield at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, Calif.
The six jet demonstration pilots had been training over the Special Use Airspace adjacent to NAF El Centro, and will continue to do the bulk of their training there for the next few weeks, before moving full time to the air space above NAF El Centro.
This is the first time in 2019 the Blue Angels held a full practice over the airfield, a critical step in preparing for the 2019 air show season.
“Until today, we’ve mainly trained over the Gulf of Mexico and (Special Use Airspace) Shade Tree,” said Capt. Eric Doyle, flight leader and commanding officer of the Blue Angels. “I couldn’t be happier with how we’re progressing in our training, and that’s a testament to not only the pilots, but the unwavering dedication and hard work of our maintenance and support team. Without them, we wouldn’t have safe and reliable aircraft to fly.”
This is just one of many steps for the squadron on its road to the 2019 show season, which officially begins Mar. 16, with the NAF El Centro Annual Air Show.
NAF El Centro is the winter home of the Blue Angels, who take advantage of the mild weather in the Imperial Valley to train from January to mid-March each year.
“We couldn’t train like we do without NAF El Centro and the surrounding community,” said Doyle. “This base is always a great host to us, and other operational Fleet squadrons, and the community here makes us feel like family.”
The team is scheduled to conduct 61 flight demonstrations at 32 locations across the country in 2019 to showcase the pride and professionalism of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to the American public.