Blue Angels highlight NAS Meridian air show
AIR SHOW STARS The Blue Angels are one of several attractions set for the Wings Over Meridian 2004 air show at Naval Air Station Meridian. The April 17-18 show is free to the public. For more information, visit the show's Web site at www.meridianairshow.com.
from staff reports
March 23, 2004
A group of U.S. Army soldiers will free-fall from about 12,5000 feet above Naval Air Station Meridian next month to kick off the Wings Over Meridian 2004 air show.
The two-day show, which will feature the Blue Angels, is set for April 17-18. The show is designed to celebrate the camaraderie between NAS Meridian and the Meridian and Lauderdale County communities.
Local officials have said that community support is expected to be a key factor in efforts to save the base from the Defense Department's next round of base closures, commonly know as BRAC, in 2005.
Lamar McDonald, chairman of the Navy Meridian Team and the Mississippi Military Communities Council, said local businesses and residents have shown tremendous support for this year's air show.
Gates for the air show will open both days at 9 a.m.; the event is free to the public.
The show will feature the Blue Angels exhibiting choreographed, Navy-trained flying skills.
The Blue Angels' air shows began nearly 60 years ago when Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, then the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team for public awareness.
The demonstration presents the graceful, aerobatic maneuvers of the four-plane "diamond" and the fast-paced high-performance maneuvers of the solo pilots in the No. 5 and No. 6 jets.
It also spotlights all six jets performing together in the renowned "Delta Formation."
Several aircraft currently in use at NAS Meridian will be featured in the show: the T-2C Buckeye, the Navy's oldest jet trainer; the T-45C Goshawk, the Navy's newest jet trainer; and the Search and Rescue team's HH-1N Huey, the workhorse aircraft during Vietnam.
Other crowd-pleasers are expected to include the JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) by Fat Albert, the name affectionately given to the squadron's C-130. Eight solid-fuel rockets attached to the sides of the C-130 help Fat Albert take off in less than 1,500 feet, climb at an angle of 45 degrees and attain an altitude of 1,000 feet in minimum time.