The skies over Jones Beach will be the setting of a dazzling display of aerial showmanship this Memorial Day weekend as the Bethpage Air Show celebrates its ninth year running with a performance by the popular U.S. Navy Blue Angels air stunt team.
The Blue Angels will be flying their trademark F/A-18 Hornets, achieving speeds of over 700 miles per hour while buzzing the crowds at Jones Beach. According to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Rachael McMarr, public affairs specialist for the Blue Angels, skills capable of producing the breathtaking mid-air acrobatics that the pilots are known for actually take countless man-hours to achieve.
“The Blue Angels prepare for the entire air show season out in El Centro, Calif.,” she said. “We spend about two and a half months out there, and the pilots have to complete 120 practice flights before we can officially start the season.”
The close proximity of Farmingdale’s Republic Airport to Jones Beach made it an ideal place for the squadron to set up home base while prepping for the Long Island performance.
“The jets will be taking off and flying out of the airport here each day of the show,” McMarr said. “Leading up to the show, we’ll be doing practice runs here...the pilots will go up and check their points to make sure everything is in line, so we’ll be ready for the show.”
Related: 2011 Bethpage Air Show video.
The Blue Angels established a tradition of excellence more than 60 years ago that is still going strong today.
“The Blue Angels started in 1946 at the order of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz,” McMarr said Thursday while standing on the Republic Airport tarmac. “It was a way to showcase America’s Navy to the American public. Out mission today is much like when it all first started; we want to go to places that don’t see the thousands of Naval Officers and Marines stationed across the globe, and bring some of that excellence to the public.”
In addition to the Blue Angels, other acts slated to appear are include the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team, the Royal Canadian Showbirds and the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptors.
"The Blue Angels are very happy to be here and performing at Jones Beach in New York," McMarr said. "It's great for the team; we love to interact with the community. Come out and see the air show this weekend...you’ll see a lot of fun stuff!”