PENSACOLA, FL (WKRG) — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds — two teams accustomed to flying the skies in public air shows — shared the skies in Pensacola Monday.
The meeting fell on a significant date for both teams: the Blue Angels’ 71st birthday and the Thunderbirds’ 70th.
The Thunderbirds flew in so the two teams can practice together and share ideas — something that hasn’t happened since 2002.
“My entire life, I have been a fan of both teams and to be able to take both practices and share them, to improve each other’s way of completing the same mission and to collectively elevate our game is an incredible option,” says Major Alex Turner, Lead Solo of the Air Force Thunderbirds.
While the two squads fly different air crafts, they share a similar goal: to give the best airshows possible.
“There’s differences in how we do our maneuvers based on the aircraft, a lot of other differences in how we organize our teams, how we accomplish our missions and how we train in the off season,” Turner says.
Although very different — and even despite a small rivalry — the teams remain close knit.
“The reason we don’t get to do this very much is because the Department of Defense splits us up because we are really on the same team,” said Frank Weiser, Blue Angels Lead Solo Commander. “We are America’s demo team, and if we are always together, we aren’t doing our job — divide and conquer.”
And that’s what they’re doing: splitting up to help keep a bird’s eye view on our nation and put on a show for its citizen while they do just that.