Blue Angels, other aerial daredevils return to Brunswick

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BRUNSWICK — As many as 50,000 people are expected to turn out for the Great State of Maine Air Show at Brunswick Executive Airport this weekend, where U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots and other flyers will take to the skies.

“The show brings in top aviation performances from all around the world,” event spokesman Herb Gillen said Tuesday. “These are the best of the best.”

The Navy’s Blue Angels will headline the Aug. 26-27 lineup of aerial performers, flying in their only New England show of 2017.

Tickets and a schedule are available on the event website.

The Blue Angels, the Navy’s elite flight demonstration squadron, formed in the 1940s after World War II “really as a means to promote naval aviation,” Gillen said. “And that really is still their main mission. This is really a chance for citizens to interact with our military.”

Visitors can expect to see a showcase of aerial maneuvers used by active military pilots, while an announcer describes the stunts over a loudspeaker.

The Blue Angels will “fly as close as 18 inches wing-tip-to-wing-tip,” Gillen said – a little closer than they might while on active duty, but still a powerful depiction of their skill.

The squadron is composed of six F18 Hornets piloted by active Navy airmen who must apply to join the competitive and prestigious squad. Pilots serve two years before returning to their regular military assignments, Gillen said.

In addition to flight demonstrations, a wide-ranging roster of planes will be on display, including a Navy P-3 Orion and two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Vermont National Guard.

This year’s show will also feature the U.S. Special Operations Command Para-Commandos, an elite parachute jump team that will skydive 12,500 feet toward the crowd, reaching speeds of 120 mph before releasing their black-and-gold canopies.

“These (jumpers) are all from different parts of the special operations worlds,” Gillen said. “These guys are the top of their business.”

Flight demonstrations will begin around 11:30 a.m. both days, lasting until about 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday shows aren’t expected to vary, Gillen added.

“Overall, it’s about entertainment, it’s about having fun, it’s a great family atmosphere,” he said.

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net. Follow Callie on Twitter: @calliecferguson.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will take to the skies over Brunswick this weekend for the Great State of Maine Air Show at Brunswick Executive Airport.

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Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net.
  • Paul Whitcomb

    Why this glorification of warfare? Love of violence is almost our preferred, official national pathology. It’s amazing how many people buy the hype without questioning it.
    Is the navy going to give a discussion on how they choose which villages to fire Tomahawk missiles at?
    Think twice before you honor a military that is corporate-led.

    • Chew H Bird

      Without warfare we would be paying taxes to England…

      • Paul Whitcomb

        Maybe so, but it has gotten out-of-hand. It is no longer a matter of defense, but offense. U.S. military as pawns of Wall Street and globalism.

        • Chew H Bird

          I agree with you on the political and financial aspects of the military, and the same goes for most branches of government as the “good old boys”, lobbyists, “pork and promises”, special interests, and plain old greed infest all layers of what see as “elected privilege”.

          I also agree about the concept of offense vs defense, but understand technology has enabled humans to create a reality where offense is, (in many cases), the most practical defense as the oceans no longer serve as a viable barrier to attack.

          We now live in a global world where our economy, instant communications, fast transportation systems, instant GPS, worldwide news and headlines in an instant, (from nearly anyone with a cell phone), and the stark shadow of worldwide military threats in addition to organized and individual terrorism.

          As the human population rises and certain areas have food while other areas have limited supply, and the same scenario for water, oil, ocean resources, medical resources, education and technology, and those divides are exasperated by different cultures, different social norms, and different life expectations, the conflicts will become worse.

          Not that I am a naysayer, but humanity has not changed much over the years and we all want what is best for ourselves and when someone else has what we need we figure out a way to obtain it.