On Saturday, the sky above Pensacola will be filled with loud jets streaking by. Thousands of people are expected to attend the culmination of the 2019 demonstration season for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
After countless shows across the United States, this one is special. Not only does it mark the end of the season, but three pilots will leave the team following the Saturday show at NAS Pensacola: The “Boss” Capt. Eric Doyle, lead solo pilot Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Hempler and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Jeff Mullins will say goodbye.
The pilots will return to the Navy fleet and Mullins to service in the Marine Corps.
Yellowhammer News spoke with Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Hempler on Thursday about what the homecoming airshow means to him.
Hempler said being able to perform a show in the hometown of Naval Aviation is very special. He added that he will miss his time one the team, including his famous sneak pass maneuver, where he streaks over the unsuspecting crowd and a minimum altitude. When asked what he most looks forward to following the season, Hempler said smoking some meat on the grill and watching college football.
Capt. Eric Doyle said being a pilot with the Blue Angels was a dream come true and he will forever miss his time on the demonstration team. Doyle went on to say the show will be like any homecoming, where the pilots get to see friends, fans and former Blue Angel pilots, adding it is a great opportunity to celebrate the Blue Angels.
After performing a rigorous schedule each weekend, the Blue Angeles will take a few weeks off before reporting to training for the 2020 season at NAF El Centro in California.
The 2019 homecoming airshow is open to the public and is free of charge. The show takes place at NAS Pensacola. Gates open at 8:00 a.m. and ends around 3:30 p.m. The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly at 2:00 p.m. For more information click here.
Scott Chambers is a news anchor for Yellowhammer News Network and Gulf State News Network