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Sunday, October 10, 2004



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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Blue Angels performed precision flying over the Marine Corps Base past the Koolau Mountains yesterday. The air stunts will continue today, starting at 11:45 a.m.


Pride of the skies

Kaneohe's Marine Corps Base
hosts the aerobatic marvels




Today's show

The Blue Angels will perform at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at 11:45 a.m. today. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Additional parking is available at Bellows Air Force Station with shuttles running between Waimanalo and the base.


It's hard to describe the look, the sound and the feel of six Boeing F/A-18 Hornets flying within 18 inches of each other at 400 mph.

"Outstanding" was the word Penny Marama chose to sum up the Navy Blue Angels performance yesterday at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe, with the green Koolau Mountains and the blue Pacific as backdrop.

"Did you see how close together they were?" Marama asked. "It makes me proud."

The precision of the Navy's exhibition team "gives you a better respect for how hard they work," said Rebekah Roberson, 16, whose Army father is pulling his second tour of duty in Iraq. "It makes me feel closer to him," she said.

Thousands of people flooded onto the Marine base yesterday for the air show, which offered performances by a number of aerobatic planes before the Blue Angels took off at 3 p.m.

"They were lined up waiting at 10 a.m. when we opened the gates," said Marine Staff Sgt. Jeff Middleton. More than 5,000 vehicles entered the base.

"It was a great turnout," Middleton said.

In addition to the air show, there were dozens of planes, helicopters and military vehicles on display. Some allowed curious kids -- and adults -- to go inside.

Pride in the prowess of the American military was a recurring theme for many attending.

art
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Blue Angels performed precision flying, including upside-down stunts, over the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe yesterday.


"I'm really impressed with their expertise," said Ed Lesperance, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Kaneohe. "These jets now far outstrip what we had 30 years ago."

Four of the six Blue Angel planes flew most of their maneuvers in a tight diamond-shaped formation that from some angles made the four planes look like one unit. When they passed close over the crowd, the sound was deafening.

The two additional planes flew a variety of specialty moves during their 45-minute show that included zooming straight at each other, only to bank hard at the last minute.

Several passes included one or more pilots flying for many seconds at a time upside-down.

For the Brooke family of Kaneohe seeing the Blue Angels was like a taste of home. When the family lived in Pensacola, Fla., the planes flew over their house every week during practice.

"When I heard them, I'd run out of the house to see them," said Michelle Brooke.

"They really are intriguing," said her daughter Christie, 14. "Seeing them makes me feel at home."



Marine Corps-Navy air show
www.bluesonthebay.org

Blue Angels Official Web site
www.blueangels.navy.mil

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