Blue Angels announce return to Vero Beach in 2018

Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Blue Angels

By Ginny Beagan, TCPalm

The Blue Angels are scheduled to return to Vero Beach in 2018.

The iconic Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron will perform April 21-22, 2018, at the Vero Beach Air Show.

The announcement came Tuesday at the International Council of Airshows convention in Las Vegas, but Robert Paugh, president of the board of directors, said the application process was a lengthy one. The initial paperwork was filed in 2015 and in February, Vero Beach organizers were told they would be considered by the Blues.

On Tuesday morning, Paugh and Blue Angels liaison and board member Marty Zickert sat among the almost 2,000 organizers, performers and air show representatives when the good news flashed up on the a jumbo-sized screen at the convention center.

“We were just sitting there watching,” Zickert said. “And then we realized we not only got the Blues we got April. How cool is that?”

The elite Blue and Gold squadron’s prior performances in Vero were in May and June. The Blues’ season is March through November.

“It’s a great time of the year for our show,” Paugh said. “It will help with the heat. It’s prime.”

The iconic jet demonstration team made its first Treasure Coast appearance in 2014 to huge crowds at the Vero Beach Regional Airport show.

The elite squadron’s 2016 appearance was canceled following the June 2 death of the pilot of the No. six Blue Angel Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss during a rehearsal for a Tennessee air show. After being grounded for three weeks, the Blue Angels resumed performing the weekend after the Vero Beach show.

The Blue Angels 2018 appearance in Vero Beach is the only one on the Treasure Coast. The Stuart Air Show at Witham Field does not meet the FAA requirements to host the Blues or the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Paugh said other aerobatic acts and air show performers at the convention were anxious to talk to him after it was confirmed the crowd-pleasing Angels were coming to Vero Beach.

“We are not ready to announce any other performers yet,” Paugh said. “We don’t want to bring back the same performers. We are still negotiating our 2018 lineup.”

Announcements will be made online at www.veroairshow.com and on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

See the evolution of the Blue Angels in a Pensacola News Journal photo gallery and read about the group’s past 70 years.