So, wich team do you prefere? Do you favourice the navy or the Air force? Do you like the Thunderbirds who are flying with F-16 or the older Blue Angels who are using the modern F/A-18.
At the end of the second world war, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz demanded an aviation team from the navy to preform shows to the audience. The point was to show everybody that “it wasn’t just the air-force who could fly” and to keep the interest in navy aviation. It didn’t even take a year untill the Blue Angles made their first flight in june 1946 at their home base Naval air station in Jacksonville.
The Blue Angels didn’t go for the jackpot in the beginning, they started out with one singel fighter, the F-6F Hellcat wich was flown by Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris. But in only two months the Blue Angels had managed to create a group of flying planes that were flying in the so called “diamond” formation, In this show the F-6F were replaced by a newer model the F8F Bearcat.
In the late 1940 the Blue Angles took their first jet engined plane in use, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. But because of the Korean war, the planes were called to the carrier USS Princeton to help their fellow aviators. The name was temporaliy changed to the “Satan’s Kittens” in 1950.
One year later the planes and the aviators met in NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, only to discover that they had to exchange their planes to faster Panther, the F9F-5.
In 1954 they changed base again, this time to Florida. Again the planes changed to better variants this time to the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.
20 years after the first flight, the Blue Angels decided to take more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969).
In December 1974 the team started to fly the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II. This garanteed further investsments to the team, and officers and maintaining personell were recruited. Cmdr. Tony Less, got the first official commander job.
On November 8th 1986 the Blue Angeles completed their 40th anniversary year. During the same year, the team recived a present. The McDonnels Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18, wich nowadays serves as the front line fighter in the USAF. The Bluea Angles have flown for more than 260 million spectators.
The “Thunderbirds” team is very old, the whole project started in the early in 25 of May 1953, when the Air-force needed a demstrationo team to their new air-planes. Their base became Luke air-force base in Arizona, and they soon adapted the name “3600th air demostration unit” or the more known “Thunderbirds”. The name to the team came originally from the indians, who told a legend about a sertain “Thunderbird”, wich was a bird, sometimes a hawk, sometimes an eagle, but a bird who always posessed great fear and respect!
When it took to the skies, the earth trembled from the thunder of its great wings. From its eyes shot bolts of lightning. Nothing in nature could challenge the bird of thunder, and no man could stand againt it’s powerful might
It was the best name that could possible have beens selected! Seven officers and 22 men were chosen to the first demostration team, mostly from the “Lukes” air-force base.
Maj. Dick Catledge was chosen to be the first leader. He flew, and tought the young trainees, so he was “one of the best” The Twins Bill and Buck Patillo (captains) were chosen to be the pilots who would fly left, and respectly right wing. Capt. Bob Kanaga, who got the worst job, the job were you had to fly between the two wingmen was also selected. Capt. Bob McCormick would fly as the “tail man”. The first session would take about 15 minutes, ans as planned the “tail man” Capt. Bob McCormick, always started a bit earlier than the rest to check the weather.
The thunderbirds have flown with many planes, including the:
F-100 Super Sabre
Nowadays the “Thunderbirds” are using the “F-16 Falcons”.
(Press at text to see image)
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