PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Despite questionable weather, the Navy’s Blue Angels pulled off 4 days of successful-if limited practices, and an airshow, in the skies over Pensacola Beach. The Blues thrill crowds with their precision flying, but they also serve as inspiration to work hard, reach high, and achieve goals.
The Blue Angels airshows don’t happen without a lot of discipline, hard work and practice.
“When it’s time to get ready for the show, that’s paramount so we need to focus. It’s about safety and it’s about execution,” said Captain Eric Doyle, flight leader and commander of the 2019 Blue Angels team.
The Blue Angels season begins each November in Pensacola when the new team comes together.
“We start flying here in Pensacola, out there over the water, where we just get down to the basics. Taking off together. Turning the smoke on together. Getting clear formations. Then we really build the team in El Centro (California), where we are for almost 3 months in intensive training, 15 sorties a week, 3 times a day most days,” said Doyle.
And, it seems once you do all the hard things to become a Blue Angels pilot, the work is just beginning.
“Monday is actually our day off. We fly here in Pensacola Tuesday and Wednesday. We transit to the next site on Thursday. We practice Friday and we fly shows on Saturday and Sunday and transit home Sunday night. Debrief here Sunday. Get up at home on Monday, check our emails and start it again on Tuesday,” said Doyle, adding, “It’s hard work but I wouldn’t do anything else.”
Hard work that the Blues hope inspire others because the Blues know they are role models. When asked what he would tell a young person aspiring to sit in the cockpit, or reach any goal, Doyle answered, “Work hard. Never take no for an answer. If somebody says no, ask the next person and ask again and keep trying.”
Doyle also had these words of motivation, “Inspire yourself to greatness. Do hard things. Being a Blue Angel is hard. It’s a hard job. But I love every second of it.”
Capt. Doyle says one of his favorite things to do after a practice is to meet with the children who’ve come out to watch the performance and who want an autograph. Who knows? He may be meeting a future Blue Angels’ pilot!