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Who are the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Golden Knights?


Who are the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Golden Knights?

The US Army Golden Knights parachute team thrills audiences around the world.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.
For decades, the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Golden Knights have entertained audiences around the world when they take to the skies and perform their aerobatic shows.

Each group has their own rich history and are unique in their own right. However, what they all have in common is their ability to thrill audiences by demonstrating their immense skills and talents.

To give you a better idea of their similarities and differences here is a brief rundown of each group:

Blue Angels
The Blue Angels are a part of the United States Navy. They were formed in June 1946 under the orders of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz as a means to keep the public interested in naval aviation after the end of World War II. Their name dates back to 1946 when during a planning session for an upcoming show in New York one of the original team members read about the Blue Angel Nightclub in the New Yorker and thus the team settled on the name Blue Angels. Their colors, blue and gold, are the official colors of the U.S. Navy.

Based out of Pensacola, Florida the Blue Angels entertain thousands of onlookers each year with their aerobatic performances in the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, which is also known to many fans as Fat Albert.

Throughout the shows the solo pilots reach speeds of up to 700 miles per hour and during the Diamond 360 maneuver the jets can get within 18 inches of each other.

Besides attending one of their shows, the Blue Angels invite the public to watch their practice sessions which are held at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida. Furthermore, the team members visit the museum to answer questions and sign autographs every Wednesday after they've finished practicing.

If you'd like to stay up-to-date with the Blue Angels you may do so by following them on Facebook or Twitter.

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds were formed on May 25, 1953 and were originally based out of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Part of the reason they chose the name "Thunderbirds" was because of the Native American culture and history which is very prominent in the southwest.

In 1956 the Thunderbirds began using the F-100C Super Saber. Because of maintenance and logistics, after switching to this aircraft the Thunderbirds relocated to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and have remained based out of there ever since.

During each hour-long show the fighter pilots take to the skies in their red, white and blue F-16 Fighting Falcons. While airborne, they entertain audiences of all ages when they demonstrate their skills and talents as is evident by their breath-taking maneuvers.

To date, the Thunderbirds have performed worldwide and according to their Web site the team will be on the road more than 200 days during the 2012 season.

If you would like to keep up with the Thunderbirds you may follow them on Facebook or Twitter. To view videos of the Thunderbirds and/or watch interviews with various team members, please visit their official You Tube page.

Golden Knights
The Golden Knights were formed in 1959 with the purpose of competing in international skydiving competitions. However, at that time they were known as the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC). In 1961 the DoD changed STRAC's name to the United States Army Parachute Team.

As the team competed and won numerous gold medals they were nicknamed the Golden Knights. The "Golden" stands for all the gold medals they've won and the "Knights" comes from being world champions in the sport and is reflective of the group's ability to "own the skies."

Fast forward several decades and the Golden Knights continue to delight audiences with their skydiving skills and abilities by performing at numerous shows from March through November, with most performances being conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. To maximize the amount of shows they're able to conduct the group is divided into two teams, the Black Team and the Gold Team, which allows them to perform at two different locations during the same weekend.

If you'd like to keep up with the Golden Knights you can follow them on:

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