Blue Angels cancel Annapolis air show over performance error

Flyover at Naval Academy graduation undetermined

May 23, 2011|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

The Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration squadron, abruptly canceled its practice demonstration and air show scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Annapolis, but officials said the group's planes could still fly at Friday's U.S. Naval Academy graduation ceremony.

In a statement, the Pensacola, Fla.-based Blue Angels said it is in a "safety stand-down" after an error during a maneuver during a performance on Sunday at the Lynchburg Regional Air Show in Virginia.

A spokesman said planes were doing a "barrel-roll split" in which planes turn 360 degrees and then break apart. The spokesman, Petty Officer Russell Tafuri, would not say how low to the ground the planes got, but that the planes flew outside their preset safety parameters.

The Blue Angels had been scheduled to practice over the Severn River on Tuesday and then perform a free hour-long show over Annapolis on Wednesday with C-130 planes and F/A-18 Hornets flying exciting maneuvers sometimes inches apart.

The squadron had already canceled its Annapolis show for 2012 citing a scheduling conflict at the Naval Academy, which scheduled that year's graduation for May 29, a Tuesday, to avoid having the ceremony at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.

The Blue Angels have said they will perform a flyover at the 2012 Naval Academy graduation.

A school spokesman issued a statement Monday saying, "The Naval Academy fully appreciates the Blue Angels concern for safety as they prepare to resume the remainder of their schedule," it said. "We look forward to their return for future performances."

Tafuri said no decision has been made on whether the planes will fly over Friday's graduation.

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

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