AUDIO: Listen To The Blue Angels Over Super Bowl 50
The cadence used by the Blue Angels "Boss" to communicate with the team is unique. While all formation team leads make their movements clear over the radio, Blue Angel #1 often sounds like he's singing...badly. While it may sound strange there is an important reason for it.
The audio in the link below allows you to hear what it takes to manage a safe fly-over with perfect timing as displayed at the opening ceremonies of this year's Super Bowl game. It's just over 15 minutes in length and gives you all the team radio work from the ground and air from take-off to fly-over and landing.
Video Below: Blue Angels Cockpit view (video has just ambient noise no coms, watch while you listen).
Demonstration teams don't use standard formation communication protocols. Because they fly so close and the timing of their maneuvers must be precise, they've developed specialized radio calls. The Blue Angels have developed their cadence over the past 70 years of the team's history.
During the delta formation, scene over Super Bowl 50, the lead Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi signals when he's turning, climbing or reduces power, extends the speed brake, etc. If the 'Boss' didn't help the other pilots anticipate the changes they'd never stay so tight. The ground crew as you can hear helps keep the fly-over on time.
Also before each demo flight, all the demonstration teams will go through a safety brief on the ground at a table and 'fly' the routine from their chairs, including these radio calls. The Blue Angel lead uses a very clear rhythm or cadence so that the wingmen know precisely when he will take a certain action.
In normal formation flying, most changes are indicated by hand signals like holding up a fist or dipping a wing to signal a cross-under. Radio communications are kept to a minimum.
Learn more about the visual signals here: T-34 Formation Flight Manual.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels celebrate their 70th anniversary this year and I'm looking forward to working with the team first at the Los Angeles County Airshow March 19 -20.