This week began with the announcement that the United States Navy’s famed Blue Angels has welcomed its first female pilot for the Demonstration Team in its 76-year history. Her name is Lt. Amanda Lee.
Lee is from Mound View, Minnesota, and becomes yet another woman from that state to enter aviation history. The Blue Angels currently have some 24 women involved in various positions in their demonstration teams. Lee is not the first female pilot with them — Katie Cook holds that privilege. She flies the Blue Angels’ big tanker, known as “Fat Albert,” but Lt. Lee is the first female to be accepted to fly with the demonstration team that puts on some 60 shows around the nation every year.
As you can imagine, those who are chosen to be among that elite team of Navy pilots known as the Blue Angels must meet a very stringent set of skill requirements and must also demonstrate the proper mindset to be able to perform those intricate, close-formation routines at the varying rates of speed that are common in their shows. While they are all in their own jets during their demonstration shows around the country, the key to their success is that they are a team. They perform a very demanding and intricate aerial ballet every time they put on one of their shows, sometimes flying only inches apart. To fly those FA-18 fighter jets in close formations as they do routinely in their shows, there has to be a very high level of trust among the pilots. It takes a certain kind of physical skill and mental discipline that only the best have developed to the point of expertise that the Blue Angels require and demonstrate.
Lt. Lee has demonstrated both the skills and the mental discipline to be brought on to the Blue Angels Team. She will report to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for a five-month-long training program and will fly in her first show with the team sometime next year.
This is a big deal, being the first woman to be made a part of this elite U.S. Navy unit, and Lt. Lee understands that intimately. But it is also important to know that her own self-awareness is both humble and practical. Though she recognizes that this is a history-making event, she sees herself as a pilot first and a person second. Gender is not an issue for her.
We are happy for Lt. Amanda Lee and respect her accomplishments as a U.S. Navy FA-18 fighter pilot. In becoming the first woman to fly with the Blue Angels demonstration team, she is recognized as one of the best fighter pilots in the world. We wish her great times and much success as she joins the Blue Angels. We look forward to seeing her in action at the shows they do around the country beginning sometime next year. “Once a Blue Angel, Always a Blue Angel.” Welcome to the team, Lt. Amanda Lee.Whizzco