A major disaster was averted when two F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters of the US Navy Blue Angels team brushed against each other during a training session on August 14, 2019, over the skies of Pensacola in Florida but came out of the potentially fatal situation with just minor scratches. Four US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets were rehearsing their acrobatic skills on August 14 when the incident took place following which all of them called to a "safety stand down".
The Blue Angels were scheduled to demonstrate their skills at the Air and Water Show 2019 in Chicago, Illinois and were busy practising for the same when No. 1 and No. 3 F/A-18 Super Hornets piloted by Captain Eric Doyle and Lieutenant James Cox came in contact mid-air during their "Diamond 360" manoeuver.
Captain Doyle is the commanding officer of the Blue Angels and flies F/A-18 Super Hornet No. 1. As soon as the two jets collided, the US Navy directed the Blue Angles team to immediately "safety stand down".
"They fly very, very close together. No. 3 did make contact of the underside of No. 1's wing with his (glass cockpit) canopy," Lieutenant Michelle Tucker, the Chief of Naval Air Training spokeswoman, was quoted as saying by Military.com. She said that none of the pilots involved in the mishap was injured and only one of the F/A-18 Super Hornets had a "minimal scratch".
Lieutenant Michelle added that the Blue Angles team has the best pilots and support personnel of the US Navy. They take all safety precautions and train for the acrobatics show exercising utmost care, according to her.
However, the Air and Water Show 2019 in Chicago was not postponed. Both Captain Doyle and Lieutenant Cox took part in the show even though the two F/A-18 Super Hornets which brushed against each other were replaced.
In the "Diamond 360" show, four Blue Angles pilots fly their jets in a tight diamond formation just 18 inches apart. The fighters fly in a 180-degree arc in front of the spectators.