The blue jet that landed at Dayton International Airport on Monday wasn’t your typical passenger plane.
But it will become a familiar sight times six when the Blue Angels jet team performs at the Vectren Dayton Air Show on June 18-19, 2016.
“We’re always thrilled to get the Blue Angels,” said Terry Grevious, Dayton Air Show executive director. “They’re very popular with the fans.”
Navy Lt. Tyler Davies and Marine Corps Capt. Corrie Mays flew in a twin-tailed F/A-18 Hornet — marked with the number “7” — for a pre-season visit to finalize details of the precision flying acrobatic team’s trek to Dayton.
“This is my first time here,” said Davis, 33, a Kennesaw, Ga., native and team narrator. “I’ve heard a lot about how awesome this air show is with the community.”
Davies and Mays, the team’s events coordinator, met with air show and airport officials to talk about airfield security to hotel accommodations and finalize other details.
“First things first is safety,” said Mays, 35, a Cape Cod, Mass., native. “We want to make sure … everything is safe.”
The Navy and Marine aviators fly their F/A-18s within 18 inches of each other during some aerial routines. The number seven jet is flown by the narrator and serves as a back-up during the show should another jet become disabled.
“The precision required to fly an aircraft that close to another aircraft is very dynamic and dangerous in itself,” Davies said. “The concentration required (means) to essentially compartmentalize all the thoughts that you’re currently thinking about and just … focus on flying next to another aircraft as long I can.”
Davies enlisted in the Navy after high school.
“I knew I wanted to fly,” he said. “I didn’t know how it was going to be possible.”
After boot camp, he served as an aviation electronics technician on aircraft carriers for several years before he earned a college degree, attended officer candidate school and later entered flight training to become a naval aviator.
“I just kind of aimed at a star and said I’m going to shoot for it,” he said.
Mays, a naval flight officer, said she is the second female to serve as a Blue Angels events coordinator in the team’s nearly 70-year history. Last season, the Blue Angels added to its roster the team’s first-ever female aviator, Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins. Higgins, a Severna Park, Md., native, flies the propeller-driven C-130 cargo plane dubbed “Fat Albert” that performs for spectators and transports team members and equipment from site to site.
This will mark the Blue Angels 14th appearance in Dayton since the air show launched more than four decades ago, organizers said. The Pensacola, Fla.-based team will perform at 35 locations before an estimated 11 million spectators next season.
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