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In a recent Blue Angels airshow, one of the pilots had their landing gear down during the first 5 minutes of the show. What possible reasons would justify leaving the aircraft in this state?

No picture available.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps ironically because it makes a nice picture? $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Trying to flow slow to give the amateur photogs a chance? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 21:53

1 Answer 1

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What possible reasons would justify leaving the aircraft in this state?

Because it's part of their show routine:

  • Solos Take-off (Blue Angel #5: Dirty Roll on Take-Off; Blue Angel #6: Low Transition to High Performance Climb).

This dirty roll is not easy (it killed a Blue Angel back in 1982 in a Skyhawk during winter training), so it shows off skill and plane capability.

And later four planes fly gear down:

  • Diamond Dirty Loop: The diamond flies a loop with all 4 jets in the carrier landing configuration.

The dirty loop formation started back in 1986 to celebrate the 40th anniversary and the new F/A-18:

On 8 November 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The power and aerodynamics of the Hornet allows them to perform a slow, high angle of attack "tail sitting" maneuver, and to fly a "dirty" (landing gear down) formation loop.


Dirty is plane-speak for gear and/or flaps out, as opposed to a clean configuration.

enter image description here
Source: pinterest.com

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    $\begingroup$ Hm... Flaps certainly don't help with inverted flight, but generally it's easier to fly "dirty" (with lots of added drag) at low speeds, esp. in formation. Provided, of course, there is enough power for this. $\endgroup$
    – Zeus
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ If I had enough reputation, I would select this as answer. $\endgroup$
    – mario87
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @mario87: Thanks. You can press the check mark to accept it. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 4:56

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