The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, first performed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team. The squadron's six demonstration pilots fly the F/A-18 Hornet in more than 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year, where they still employ many of the same practices and techniques used in their aerial displays in 1946. Since their inception, the "Blues" have flown a variety of different aircraft types for more than 427 million spectators worldwide.
The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.
The Blue Angels show season runs each year from March until November. They perform at military and civilian airfields, and often perform directly over major cities such as San Francisco's "Fleet Week" maritime festival, Cleveland's bi-annual Labor Day Air Show, and Seattle's annual Seafair festival.