Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 and 2013: F-8F-2 Bearcat In Early Blue Angels Team Colors

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Aerial Demonstration Team did not perform at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 or any other airshow this summer, but among the vast collection of warbirds there there was an aircraft that reminded us of an earlier era of the Blue Angels - John O'Connor's Grumman Grumman F-8F-2 Bearcat (s/n 121761).  The aircraft represents the team leader for the Bearcat years (August 25,1946 - August 14,1949; a solo F-8F-2 Bearcat continued to fly until 1952) in which the F-8F-1 Bearcat's were painted the official "Blue Angel Blue" with "Insignia Yellow" lettering.  The Bearcat was adopted after the team flew Hellcats for three months, and the team formulated a short, but impressive demonstration routine that quickly became popular at airshows.  An all-yellow aircraft, nick-named "beetle Bomb," was also used to replace the SNJ as the adversary aircraft during the dogfight routine.  It appears that the Blue Angels lettering on the nose is found on 1949 team aircraft, a precursor to the official logo.  Three Bearcats and two pilots were lost during their service with the Blue Angels, including after the transition to F-9F-2 Panther in 1949.    

The following gallery was compiled from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 and 2013:


 St. Louis area residents have two opportunities to learn the history of the Blue Angels.  Joe Gurney of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society will give a comprehensive presentation tonight at the EAA Chapter 64 meeting at St. Louis Downtown Airport at 7pm, and another November 5 at St. Louis Community College Meramec Campus from 7-8:30pm.        

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