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Navy's Blue Angels ready for Great Tennessee Air Show

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SMYRNA, Tenn. -- The world famous U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron arrived in central Tennessee on Thursday ready to perform their aerobatic stunts at the Great Tennessee Air Show.

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The Navy's Blue Angels will headline this weekend's two day air show at the Smyrna Rutherford County Airport.

Lead by team "Boss" Tom Frosch in the Angel 1 aircraft, the Angels Delta Team includes John Hiltz, Nate Barton, Brandon Cordill, David Tickle and Mark Tedrow.

Surrounded by low clouds, the Blue Angels jets arrived over downtown Nashville at mid-morning for a speedy flyover of the city before darting in their famous delta formation over to Smyrna for landing.

As the blue and yellow gloss-painted F/A-18 Hornets screamed over the airfield on approach, their delta shape dissolved one-by-one as each jet peeled away to line up with the runway.

The Blue's massive C-130T transport aircraft known as Fat Albert also arrived at the air show site filled with the team's hardware, supplies and maintenance personal, everything which will keep the team operational at their home away from home.

One Angel pilot, a native of nearby Birmingham, Alabama, knows all to well the passion in which this local community has for the military.

"This is America's heartland," Angel 5 lead solo Dave Tickle stated to this aerospace reporter from the flight line on Thursday. "It's a great place for us to come and bring the Navy and Marine Corps. to the backyard of America."

One of the longest serving pilots currently flying, Tickle stated with excitement his feelings on the role of a Blue Angel, "Not everyone gets to see the military operate on a daily basis, so for us to bring the squadron here and show the American public what it is we do on a daily basis is amazing."

The Tennessee air show will also feature several military and civilian aerobatic performances from the era of World War II through today.

A P-51D Mustang will honor the allied military effort 70 years earlier during the D-Day invasion on the beaches of northern France with a flight over the airfield.

"It's not just about the Blue Angels here at the air show," Tickle said. "There are a lot of great performers like Sean Tucker, Rob Holland and Skip Stewart. You have all these great, wonderful acts here, and I encourage families to come out early and see an entire show."

(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace, science and technology. Follow his updates via Twitter @AbsolutSpaceGuy.)

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