Blue Angels Headed West for 2019 Winter Training

The Blue Angels arrive at NAF El Centro for winter training in January of 2018.

The Blue Angels arrive at NAF El Centro for winter training in January of 2018.

It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are over and the new year is here, and that means it’s time for the Blue Angels to head west. 

The 2019 Blue Angels began training for the upcoming season back in November immediately following the conclucison of the homecoming show at NAS Pensacola. Lt. James Haley, Lt. James Cox, and Lt. Cary Rickoff all got to climb in a blue and gold jet for the first time, and Lcdr. Andre Webb began his transition from narrator to the opposing solo. Since November, the Blue Angels have made trips to NAS Key West, Florida and MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina where the team got to practice some cross-country flying in preparation for the long trip out to NAF El Centro, California.

The Blue Angels conduct a winter training flight above the Imperial Valley.

The Blue Angels conduct a winter training flight above the Imperial Valley.

Thursday, Janary 3, the 2019 team departs NAS Pensacola and heads to NAF El Centro. They’ll leave their families behind for nearly 3 months and will fly several times a day for 10 weeks in order to perfect their demonstration. They’ll begin training over the El Centro desert before transitioning to the airfield, and each pilot will fly approximately 120 flights prior to the season opener March 16 at NAF El Centro. 

The Blue Angels rely on the Imperial Valley for its near perfect weather, and 2019 will mark the team’s 52nd year in El Centro for winter training. 

Stay tuned throughout the day for pictures and video of the team’s departure in Pensacola as well as their arrival in El Centro. We’ll update you throughout the next several months on the team’s status as we approach the 2019 season. 

The Blue Angels conduct a winter training flight over the Imperial Valley.

The Blue Angels conduct a winter training flight over the Imperial Valley.

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