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Three Epic Ways to Watch the Blue Angels Practice from the Water

Blue Angels Practice Tours & Dolphins

Hop onboard our Blues Cruise on select Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s during airshow season for this match made in coastal paradise:

a fighter jet flying through a clear blue sky

Blue Angels & Dolphins4 Blue Angel Fighter jets, the US Navy's Blue Angels Flight Team fly through the air over the Pensacola Pass with trails.

A match made in coastal paradise!  Make priceless memories with your family and friends as you witness breathtaking aerial displays and gravity-defying stunts performed by the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s precision flying team, our Hometown Boys in Blue.

On scheduled Blue Angels practice days & for the 2024 Blues Homecoming Show board your dolphin cruise or charter a pontoon boat rental and be your own captain for a picturesque cruise in Pensacola. On the way, relax in the shade while watching for marine & wildlife in their natural habitat. Catch this rare opportunity to search for dolphins and watch the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels acrobatic flying team practice their thrilling aerial maneuvers.  If for some reason they do not fly, the tour becomes an extended dolphin tour.  Private dolphin charters are available for up to 6, 10 and up to 49 people.

Three EPIC ways to watch the Blue Angels practice from the water:

  1. Onboard Frisky Mermaid licensed to carry 49 passengers.
  2. Groups up to 6 may watch on a semi private or private cruise on Frisky1; Group options up to 9, 18 & 27 can be accommodated
  3. Rent a pontoon & be your own Captain from 4 hours up to 7 days and watch from your own secluded beach.

    24' Bentley . 140 HP . 4 stroke Suzuki

    24′ Bentley . 140 HP . 4 stroke Suzuki

A bit of Blue Angels History Past and Present

76 Years of Aviation Excellence

In 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. In the 1940’s, we thrilled audiences with our precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950’s, we refined our demonstration with aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six-plane delta formation, still flown to this day. Three navy bi-planes flying through the sky in sync.By the end of the 1960’s, we were flying the F-4 Phantom, the only two seat aircraft flown by the delta formation. In 1974, we transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. In 2021, we transitioned to our current aircraft the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and celebrated our 75th anniversary.

In 1949, it became necessary for the Blue Angels to operate a support aircraft to move personnel and equipment between show sites. These support aircraft including the Douglas R4D Sky Train, the Curtiss R5C Commando, the Douglas R5D Skymaster, and the Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation.

In 1970 the team received the Lockheed Martin C-130,affectionately known as “Fat Albert.”

a propeller plane that is flying in the air

In 2020, “Fat Albert” transitioned to its current platform, the C-130J Super Herculesa airplane that is driving down the runway

Speaking of history, Higgins takes flight – Girl, you look so fly!

Since 1946, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, or Blue Angels, has performed jaw-dropping shows all across America. However, in the nearly 70 years the squadron has been around, there have been several females on the team who were left out of the cockpit during the performances — that is, until now.

Marine Capt. Katie Higgins the newest pilot of “Fat Albert,” a C-130 Hercules flown by the Blue Angels, has become the first woman in history to perform with the squadron.
Higgins in front of the Blue Angels C-130, Fat Albert
“I am so glad I get to be a part of the 130 team members who are the best in their field,” said Higgins, a Severna Park, Md. native. “I came to the Blue Angels because I wanted to be a part of the elite team dedicated to precision and expertise. I didn’t come out here thinking I was going to be breaking barriers; I simply wanted to do my job to the best of my abilities.” Higgins said it’s a great honor to fly for the Blue Angels, but it should feel like this for everyone on the team, male or female. As one of the squadron’s 17 officers, she said she is not treated any differently because she’s female.

“The Blue Angels are a family and they have supported me all the way, always being there for me when I need them,” Higgins said. “I wouldn’t be here without the support of the team. We’re all cogs in a machine and without just one of those pieces, it wouldn’t function properly.”

Higgins said she was greatly influenced by her family’s legacy of aviation, her pilot grandfathers, uncles and father played a key role in her decision to fly.

“I am a third-generation pilot,” Higgins said. “I am also the first female and the first Marine. My family was supportive of my decision to commission, and they were all excited when I told them I was going to be flying. My father was especially excited, being able to share that side of his life with me — it’s like officers gathering to talk about Officer Candidates School or enlisted (Marines) talking about boot camp. We got to share stories of our time in aviation, and it was our common bond.”

Higgins later said she hopes women keep pushing toward breaking down barriers because that is the team’s mission — to inspire people to excellence.
Higgins takes flight as first blue Angel pilot of Fat Albert, C-130“I hope women in the military and civilian worlds know they are capable of anything they put their minds to,” Higgins said. “For those who may think women don’t belong in any particular position, give them a shot. Let them show you their skills and abilities, that they can exceed the standard. Give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t be quick to judge because of their gender, skin color or religion.”

Higgins said people shouldn’t limit themselves based on the opinions of others and they shouldn’t give up on their goals because something easier comes along.
“No matter what obstacles or hardships you are facing, persevere through it,” Higgins said. “Whatever path you choose, be excellent and don’t settle for mediocrity. If you strive to be the best, nobody can question you or your capabilities.”