Blue Angels promise ‘really cool’ flights this weekend, rain or shine

Local News

The Blue Angels are getting ready to perform at the Kaneohe Bay Air Show this weekend.

On Thursday, KHON2 got a behind-the-scenes look as crews prepared for the shows.

The weather was rainy at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, and more rain is expected this weekend due to remnants of post-tropical-cyclone Nora.

But the Blue Angels are prepared to take flight, rain or shine.

“We’ll lower our show down, we’ll change some maneuvers,” said pilot Lt. Matt Suyderhoud, who is from Hawaii. “We won’t be able to do some of the vertical maneuvers, some of the breakout maneuvers that are a little more dynamic, but the low and flat shows are really cool. They’re in the crowd’s face. They’re really close. It’s that precision aerobatic flying and it’s still a really cool show.”

Suyderhoud graduated from Maryknoll High School in 2001 and his parents still live in Hawaii.

“My parents are really excited (to see me fly this weekend). They can’t wait to come out here,” he said. “Just last night, I was at my parent’s place having a little barbecue, and most of the (Blue Angels) team was over there. We’re all just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.”

Suyderhoud adds the air show is all about “demonstrating to the public the professionalism of the United States military and we get to be the headliners for that, so we are very lucky to do that. We’re very happy to be here in Hawaii, and I can’t wait to put on a great show for my hometown crowd.”

Behind the scenes, the Blue Angels also includes more than a hundred crew members, like Michael Hearn, aviation mechanic first class.

“It’s definitely a team effort. We have about 110 maintainers on the team and we bring about 30 to 40 to a show. It’s basically an organized ballet that we do every morning getting the jets ready for the pilots to come down,” Hearn told KHON2.

Hearn said the crew is well-versed in checking and maintaining the jets, getting them ready for flight.

“It’s definitely a tremendous bond that we have with our pilots, especially the crew chiefs, because we look at the aircraft for them,” he said. “Nowhere else in the fleet will you find that the pilots just get in and go with their jets. So they literally put their lives in our hands and we take that trust to heart. We truly do.”

The Kaneohe Bay Air Show takes place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Gates open to the public at 9 a.m. with access to the air show itself starting at 11 a.m.

Visitors are urged to check online for a full list of prohibited items, which include weapons, alcoholic beverages, large coolers, and pets other than service animals.

Officials confirm umbrellas will be allowed, as will lawn chairs.Click here for more information.

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