The U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron is performing this weekend above the Florida Keys to celebrate 200 years of naval presence in Key West.
The Blue Angels are headlining the Southernmost Air Spectacular, a free air show being staged Saturday and Sunday at Naval Air Station Key West’s Boca Chica Field in the Lower Keys.
The legendary flight demonstration team is internationally recognized for its superb formation flying and maneuvers, sometimes used in aerial combat. The squadron, whose winter home was NAS Key West in the 1960s, is performing both days in F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft.
Other air show highlights are demonstrations by the U.S. Navy Reserve Adversary Squadron VFC-111 “Sun Downers,” flying the supersonic Northrop F-5N Tiger II; and the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, operating the Air Force’s most advanced multirole fighter aircraft.
Also scheduled are civilian aerobatic exhibitions by leading air show performers, as well as static displays of more than 30 civilian and military aircraft.
Themed “200 Years of the Navy in Key West,” the event commemorates Commodore David Porter’s 1823 arrival and construction of the first U.S. Navy buildings on the island. Today Naval Air Station Key West is the Navy’s premier air-to-air combat training station.
The 2023 show is also among Florida Keys activities marking the 200th anniversary of the Territorial Florida Legislature’s establishment of Monroe County, which encompasses the Keys island chain.