July 11th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

For one Gulf Coast town, Angels cure oil blues

Angels flying around Pensacola Beach, Florida, this weekend helped the locals forget about the problems created by the oil that is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The Navy's aviation aerobatics team, the Blue Angels performed at their annual hometown air show.

Local resident James Woodson and his wife joined the large crowd that came to the beach to see the Blues perform. "With the crowds out here like this it kinda makes you forget about the oil for just this little time, " said Woodson adding, "We know it's a great problem but it kinda makes you forget about it for right now."

Forgetting about the oil spill is exactly what tourism officials hoped would happen. There were extra clean-up crews that worked throughout the night picking up tarballs that were washed on shore.

The extra effort paid off, even 9-year-old Bayleigh Critchfield noticed how white the sand looked. "I thought there was going to be like tons of oil because I thought they weren't going to do the air show but it's clean so far to me. And I believe they did a very good job cleaning it," she said.

Businesses in the area also cleaned up with revenues associated with the show, soaring to about $25 million, according to Ed Schroeder of the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. When the Blues fly in their backyard it is the biggest tourism weekend of the year for this Gulf Coast beach town, which saw a 25% decline in business the weekend before, July 4th.

"If they fly the people will be here," says Schroeder. Here the crowds came and those that did will tell you that the Angels, at least for the day, took away their oil blues.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Cole

    It was a very good show. Lots of people, fun playing in the water.
    But it seems to me that a lot of people hate the Blue Angels because they cause happiness.
    Well just cause they burn fuel for a show they do once a year at the beach doesn't mean it bad.
    The shows brings in a lot of revenue, which is much needed at this moment.

    July 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dolly Lanna

    I"ve seen the Blue Angels several times, yes they are awesom, HOWEVER, haven't we learned that we need to stop using oil unnecessarily. No more Hummers and those other insanely big autos., No more massive use of oil to show how manly our jets are, no more waste of oil. You people that don't understand what a huge thing is going on and why we need to stop using so much oil. Where are the Christians who will tell you that this is God's punishment for Greed, and neglect of our one and only planet. When we destroy it what next. Fly your jet to hell?

    July 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DBarak

    I'm going to make a blanket statement here. I generally try not to generalize (alliteration intended), but seriously, if any of you here drive, have electric lights, go online (yep, everybody raise your hand for that one, or you wouldn't have posted here to begin with), have a cell phone, ride the bus, fly in an airliner, use items made of most kinds of plastic, or have items that have been manufactured in any way other than by hand, then guess what. YOU USE OIL.

    You can argue the pros and cons of having a military, but how can you sit there and kvetch about oil use if you're using it yourself?

    And just to head off anybody that wants to try to start a flame war with me (you warmongers, you!)...

    I'm a veteran.
    I'm a liberal.
    I drive (a small import pickup truck).
    I'm a vegetarian
    I'm for gay rights.
    I'm for immigration control, but not abuse of human rights.
    I'm straight.
    I'm male.
    I'm white.
    I volunteer regularly (Do YOU???)

    Okay, pick a fight with me.

    July 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I dont know anyone who claims not to use a drop of oil. The point is use it wisely. Burning a few hundred gallons of AV fuel in an hour for entertainment is just plain stupid.

      July 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmmm.

      It's not just for entertainment. In fact it gives folks a glimpse at the skill and professionalism of the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps (or Air Force if we're talking about the Thunderbirds).

      July 12, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • fredocorleonetheweakone

      see...it's the import pick up I can't get past. Why would you buy a foreign pick up when the best pick ups in the world are made in America? I guess it's the gay thing..nothing wrong with that..just saying...

      July 12, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    please continue wasting our tax dollars please thank you

    July 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    What a bunch whiners. Just remember that the gentlemen who pilot those aircraft are also the very same one who fight for your freedom to complain. They also protect your right to drive a car, cook your food, wear clothes and the like, Get a clue and stop complaining. America showing off its air superiority is one of the least of our worries.

    July 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    Acutally the "Blues" are not an aerobatics team, they are an aerial demonstration team. They have never done a 'stunt' , every maneuver they perform is the same thing that is taught the every new young naval aviator. They only thing that makes the "Blues" flying look like stunts is that they do them 36 inches apart. The performance they did this past weekend at P'cola didnt eliminate the Gulf oil leak, what it did was to take peoples minds off of it for a few hours. To let people think about something else not so crushing for a little bit of time. We cant all live with heavy thoughts ALL the time, sometimes we need a break. Add to this, the "Blues" are a great recruiting tool for the all volentary U.S. Navy. The people of the Blue Angels team are the cream of the crop of naval personel, enlisted as well as offices. I have seen at least one "Blues" show each year for the past 35 years and still get a lump in my throat everytime I see the Blue Angels Diamond. And if you think these A/F-18's are gas guzzlers, think again...the old Phantom F-4's WERE gas hogs. The A/F-18 sips gas compared to the F-4.

    July 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. I_Was_a_Blue

    Looks like there are a few misconceptions about the demonstration team.

    A. Pensacola Beach is an annual air show. Just so happens the area really needed a boost this year.
    B. Show sites pay the Treasury Department for each day of the show in their city if they are charging for admission. Oh, and those profits can only go to charity.
    C. The carbon impact from one Blue Angel show does not equal the amount seeping daily from Mount Saint Helens. It's not completely green, but it's a point of comparison.
    D. I'd estimate the flight hour cost at $30,000. Small investment for a $25 Million dollar boost to the local area.
    E. We fly the oldest F-18s in the inventory. Nothing special, no extra planes built for the team. We use leftovers with a fresh coat of paint. Seriously.
    F. All the pilots are active duty Navy and Marine aviators that only fly the demonstration for two years, then return to the fleet to protect the freedoms we enjoy over here. Like internet blogs.
    G. The Blue Angels exist to recruit. It;s part of the recruiting budget, and dollar for dollar, the most effective contact for the Navy and Marine Corps. Take a look a the price of a 30 second commercial, and tell me that's money well spent.
    H. Ask the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and other children's hospitals across the country how they feel about the Blue Angels. We're more than just the vision you have stuck in your head from an 80's fighter pilot movie.

    Wanted to get a few facts out there.

    "Just glad to be here, Boss."

    July 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBarak

      When were you with the team? I'm just wondering if we know a couple of the same names.

      July 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    C'mon people. It was an airshow. It happens every year. How many people were forced to go up there to watch it? It was never advertised as a distraction from the world's worst oil spill. It was just an air show. If you want to get political, lets ban the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. Those are just a bunch of cars driving around in a circle. What's the point of that? Go back home and watch the grass grow. Geez, give me a break.

    July 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick S

    I admit in advance that I haven't read all of the posts here; the first fifteen were enough. So thanks in advance to all who have spoken in support of our finest out there, the folks defending our freedom and doing the work... You who are ignorant, daft or just selfish, sleep well tonight knowing that 2 million of our ciitzens are out there making sure that you can sleep soundly instead of worrying that someone will come into the night and haul you off into the abyss.

    Please quit bellyaching about political correctness. Please stop ranting about rules, conventions and correctness - how we should treat gays, muslims, etc blah-blah-blah.

    We are declining as a nation. Fact. The only way it will be solved is through grass roots efforts and fresh thinking.

    Do your part. Speak your mind. LISTEN before you react. Think before you speak.

    But above all, get involved. Be calm, be serious, and be true to your beliefs, however meager. Hold on to what you believe, but know the wisdom of absorbing another's story. Surrender your selfish behavior and embrace the sharing of truth that founded this country and made it great. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    If we don't begin to embrace these ideals as a culture, we as a country are doomed. I emplore the young people to rise up and begin to lead.

    July 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paden

    You liberals know where the door is..right
    I think cuba would be a great place you, you hate america so much get out.
    we've had enough of your whining and your BS.

    July 12, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pat

    The Blue Angels came to where I live last week like they do every other year. The fly directly over my house, where I can see the numbers on the plane at 500 MPH. This year they were here for five days. I have never heard anything louder or more terrifying. The sound breaks windows and sets off car alarms. I have watched them about 30 times and they are truly amazing and impressive.
    There have been 262 Blue Angel pilots. 26 have died in crashes. That's just about 10%. The most recent one was in Beaufort, SC. The pilot died, a house was hit and eight people on the ground were injured. If they crashed in your town, would you want them back? Why is it different that is Beaufort, SC?
    I think they are a waste of military resources and a non-essential risk in the time of war. Part of the demonstration includes clearing one part of town. It called the Crash Zone! That worries me!

    These pilots are risking their lives, in combat and training. What is our contribution? To stand on the ground and crane our necks?

    I liked the post by Anni that suggested the Blue Angels come to town and sign autographs and do their recruiting on the ground and save their fuel, cost of maintenance, their skills and the planes for when they are really needed.

    I am not a hater. I am not un-patriotic. I just don't think this is the best use of human and military resources. Maybe we have to do a little sacrificing also.

    July 12, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Dave

      You know, they would do exceedingly well as recruiters, except that nobody would come and see them. Having the Blues make a "grounded" appearance is like buying a Steinway piano and using it as a desk. It'd make a great desk, but that's not what it was intended for.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    Many of these comments make me even more excited about the Washington DC regime toilet flush that will take place in Nov. 2010 and ESPECIALLY the Nov. 2012 flush. It's starting to smell a little stinky.

    July 12, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jayme Lyn

    Ha. Funny... the first thing I thought before I even opened up the article was, "Wow. Easing troubles about wasted oil in the water by wasting oil in the air."

    Who thought this was a good idea? Ugh. We're headed so far down hill it's ridiculous.

    July 12, 2010 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jayme Lyn

    @Rick S..

    I applaud your message. I do.. but the one key thing is that there is so much fear involved when it comes to the government, no one will really stand up and fight for their rights. I love my country and I support it whole heartedly, but I'm extremely sad to see where it's going. No one wants to stand up because they're all misinformed, and those who know what the higher powers are capable of, won't fight because they don't want to get killed or be marked a terrorist for standing up for their rights. Maybe it's a wimpy way to look at it, but.. what can we do when the democracy we've been promised is a placebo?

    July 12, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. fredocorleonetheweakone

    During the holocaust people would put on plays, or play music to have a moment without misery. Entertainment can be used as an escape from stress. It's pretty common. I think most of you are missing the point.

    July 12, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
    • hmmsketch

      Weak analogy. A more accurate one would be if during the Holocaust people put on puppet shows with the dead bodies. That captures the tastelessness of burning massive amounts of fuel for an air show during the biggest oil spill in our nation's history.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Dave

      @hmmsketch: You are an idiot. What do you think– the Blues sit on baby-seal-skin ejection seats? That their aircraft are powered by manatee liver oil? That the oil well BP can't seem to cap was put there for the exclusive use of the US Navy's flight demonstration team? I'm a liberal, and I can't stand listening to idiots like you. You give the right ammunition just by opening your mouth. Did you know PETA was planning on buying a lighthouse in Grand Haven, Michigan, to open a "fish reconciliation center," to show all of the anglers how evil their fishhooks are? No, I'm not making this up. It's wackos like you who give all of us progressives a bad name.

      July 14, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
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