At 11:00am on the dot the skies over Annapolis filled with the roar of the engines of six military aircraft. The Blue Angels had returned for the United States Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week celebrations. In 2011, their aerial acrobatic show was cancelled at the last minute due to an unsafe maneuver and the squadron was grounded by their commander. In 2012, due to the former Superintendent’s change of graduation date, the Blue Angels had a scheduling conflict. And in 2013, the Federal government sequester grounded them. They returned in 2014 and they are here to stay and Annapolis could not be any happier.
While yesterday was just a practice run and a chance to get their landmarks in mind, the “official” flight demonstration will begin this afternoon at 2:00pm with the arrival of a C-130 transport plane affectionately dubbed “Fat Albert.” Fat Albert is piloted by a USNA graduate and Severna Park native and USMC Captain, Katie Higgins. Higgins is the first female pilot since the team’s inception in 1946.
A third-generation military aviator, Higgins told CBS news, “I think that by including a lady on the team that just shows little girls and guys that women can do whatever they put their mind to. Little girls have told me that they didn’t even know that ladies can cry aircraft, that women could be in the cockpit.”
TRAFFIC NOTE: Traffic restrictions on the Naval Academy Bridge and Severn River are expected today from 1:45pm to 4:00pm.
All images © Glenn A. Miller / Glenn A. Miller Photography for Eye On Annapolis