Blue Angels Ready to Fly

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

Tens of thousands are expected to attend the Golden Wings Over Meridian Air Show Saturday and Sunday at NAS Meridian. It will features the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels pilots met the media Thursday to talk about what's in store for spectators.

In Meridian, it's a common sight to look up and see the white and orange of a T-45 streak across the sky.

Locals are quick to point out the student aviators flying in their formations. However, this weekend our skies will be streaked with the Blue Angels in their FA-18 Hornets, flying in their signature diamond formation.

"You'll see us break into the diamond," said CMDR Dave Koss, Blue Angels Flight Leader. "Four of us will be operating together, while two solo pilots max perform the airplanes in between maneuvers while the diamond is coming around, then the whole Delta will fly together."

Koss joined the Blue Angels team a year ago, He says his team is fresh out of winter training and ready to introduce the local area to the "Famous Blues".

"We had our first show just last weekend and this is our second show as a team together," Koss said.

The entire Blue Angels team is comprised of 130 people, 16 officers, six delta pilots, and over one hundred other personnel. One particular member of the team is happy to be back in his home state of Mississippi, PR1 Air Cruise Survival Equipment Man, Stephen Bradford, is one of the many who ensure the safety of the pilots.

"I deal with all the survival equipment for the pilots, parachutes, oxygen systems, anything they would need to survive in emergency situations is what I deal with," Bradford said.

According to Commander Koss, safety is just one more thing in which the Blue Angels excel.

"Our number one job and mindset is to safely put on this demonstration," Koss said.

Each member of this precision team demands and exhibits perfection.

Nearly 100,000 people are expected to come, over the 2-day period, to see some of the very best talent in the United States military.

The gate will open for the air show, both Saturday and Sunday, at 8 a.m. The air shows start at 11 a.m. Admission is free.

Here is some information from NAS Meridian that will be helpful to those attending the show.

Spectators and vehicles up to and including 15-passenger vans should arrive via Highway 45. Law enforcement officials will be at all intersections to assist motorists and direct them to parking areas on board the base.

Only activity buses and those individuals who have been directed to do so should arrive via Highway 39. Large groups such as churches, schools or youth groups are encouraged to use their buses to bring people to the show.

There is no RV parking available on base.

While traveling to the air show, tune to 97.1 FM and 105.7 FM for traffic updates. Traffic updates also will be available on the NAS Meridian Air Show 2011 Facebook at www.facebook.com/nasmeridianairshow and Twitter page at www.twitter.com/NASMAirshow2011.

Handicapped Parking:

Once at the air show, vehicles with handicap windshield plaques or license plates will be directed to the appropriate area. There are two buses dedicated specifically to transporting handicapped spectators closer to the show.

For best parking please arrive early. Parking opens at 8 a.m., festivities and vendor booths open at 9 a.m. Opening ceremony for the air show will be 11:15 a.m.


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