Blue Angels: Formation Flight Simulation manual
- Blue Angels: Formation Flight Simulation
The Blue Angels have been thrilling spectators with precision flying
for more than 40 years. A team of highly trained pilots in six F/A-18
Hornets, the Blue Angels have performed in front of more than 210
million people in performances around the country.
Now you cam fly with this elite flying team. You'll learn how to
handle an F/A-18 and how to perform the high-speed low-altitude
maneuvers that are the hallmark of the Blue Angels. Most importantly,
you'll learn how to be a member of a legendary team - performing these
maneuvers in tight formation, precisely coordinated with split-second
accuracy. Finally, you'll use these skills to participate in an entire
air show as a pilot with the Blue Angels team.
HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL
Of course you're eager to take to the skies, but there are a few
things you should know before you climb into the cockpit. Read the
Getting Started section to find out how to copy the game disk. Check
out the Overview section to find out how Blue Angels works - then you
can go into Spectator Mode to watch an airshow. When you're ready to
fly, start with the Becoming a Blue Angel section. Basic Flight
Controls describe how to control your aircraft. Once you're familiar
with the controls, you can step into the Simulator to try out various
Of course, you can go right in and practice the maneuvers or even
practice an airshow, but you'll do much better if you take things
step-by-step. Flying an airshow is a difficult, demanding task
requiring split-second timing and a good memory to perform the right
maneuvers in the right sequence.
If you want to end up as a star performer on the Blue Angels team,
you'll need to practice your maneuvers quite a bit. And when you have
the maneuvers down, you can begin practicing how those maneuvers are
combined into an airshow. When you've flown a simulated airshow, and
then practiced one, you're ready for the big time - flying an airshow
in front of thousands of people, zooming over their heads at hundreds
of miles an hour, your aircraft separated by a few scant feet from your
teammates on either side.
Return to the main menu
Each time you get to a point where you must
use the controls, the flight stops and the
correct control to use is displayed.
Blue Angels is much more than a flight simulator. You'll learn to fly
an airshow as part of the elite Flight Demonstration Squadron of the
U.S.Navy. There are a number of things you have to learn before you can
fly an airshow. You must become familiar with flying the F/A-18 Hornet,
performing maneuvers ranging from the simple to the complex at speeds
close to that of sound at heights sometimes less than a hundred feet
off the ground. And you must do this flying in formation with your
teammates just a few feet from your wingtips. This section will show
you how to select the various options available in Blue Angels, and how
to take a look around the program before you join the Blue Angels
THE MENU SYSTEM
The interface for Blue Angels consists of several menus with many
selections available on each menu. These selections provide you with a
multitude of different ways to train and fly for any of the six Blue
Angels plane positions.
SELECTING MODES AND OPTIONS
In all menus, use the joystick to move through the available choices.
The current menu choice is highlighted. Then press the fire button to
make the selection.
The options within the Main Menu can have many sub-menus. Depending on
the feature in the sub-menus, the fire button will either select the
feature, or show additional choices for that feature.
Finally, after you've selected all of the appropriate features
required for your Main Menu option, use the joystick to highlight Start
Flight on the last sub-menu and press the fire button.
Use the key when you're flying to return to the main menu, and
press the Space Bar to pause the Game.
THE MAIN MENU
1. After the opening credits, a picture of the diamond formation will
appear. Highlight Select Position and press the fire button to
select the Diamond position, or move the joystick right to
highlight Next Position and press the fire button to scroll through
the other two positions. When you find the position you want,
highlight Select Position and press fire button.
2. When the Pilots List appears, move the joystick up or down to
highlight the type of airshow you want. You'll see the names of the
top nine pilots who have previously flown that airshow, and
position 10 remains open for new pilots.
3. If this is youe first airshow, move the joystick up or down to
highlight position 10, type in your name, and press the fire
button. If your name is already on the list, use the joystick to
highlight it, then press the fire button.
4. Next, the Main Menu will appear. From anywhere in the program, you
can return to this screen by pressing the F1 key. Here's a brief
description of the choices on the Main Menu:
Spectator Mode: Lets you select and watch a prerecorded airshow
from several locations.
Simulator: Lets you practice maneuvers in a flight trainer.
Practice Maneuvers: Puts you in the cockpit to practice
Simulate Airshow: Lets you practice an airshow in a flight
Practice Airshow: Get into the cockpit to practice a complete
Airshow: The real thing - fly a complete airshow.
Pilot List: Displays a listing of the pilots and their current
Exit to Basic: Leave the program and return to Basic.
This option lets you watch an airshow. This is a great way to get a
feel for the maneuvers that you'll have to learn as a member of the
Blue Angels. Just sit back and watch the pilots do their thing. When
you've had enough, press F1 to return to the Main Menu.
BECOMING A BLUE ANGEL
You've had a chance to view an airshow, and see some of the amazing
feats of flying that the Blue Angels regularly perform. Now it's time
to see if you have what it takes to become a member of this elite team.
We'll start our briefing with some background on the Blue Angels team
and the plane you'll be flying, the F/A-18 Hornet. After that, you'll
put in some time on the simulator practicing maneuvers before you're
ready to get into a plane and try these maneuvers out in the air.
Once you've practiced your maneuvers, it's time for you to pull these
maneuvers together into the intricately-choreographed performance that
is an airshow. You'll practice this first on the simulator, and then
take to the air to try and get the split-second timing necessary to
As a beginning pilot, choose a position to train for in an airshow.
Watch some airshows in Spectator Mode and see how the different
positions work. Then familiarize yourself with the controls. Now you're
ready for the Simulator, where you can train to fly the demanding set
of maneuvers that make up an airshow. As you gain confidence with your
ability. Practice Maneuvers in the actual aircraft, and then go on to
simulate and Practice an Airshow. Finally, when you've honed your
piloting skill to razor-sharp edge demanded by the Blue Angels, you're
ready to tackle an actual airshow in front of thousands of computerized
airshow buffs. Of course, once you've successfully completed an
airshow, your career isn't over. You can try to refine your talent to
the point where you make the Pilot's List of the all-time best. Or you
can go back and tackle an airshow from one of the other two positions.
BASIC FLIGHT CONTROLS
The controls of the F/A-18 are represented in a straightforward
fashion on the joystick.
Joystick Flight Controls
Moves jet down
Banks jet left -+- Banks jet right
Moves jet up
Joystick Flight Controls (with fire button pressed)
Speeds jet up
Rolls jet left -+- Rolls jet right
Slows jet down
The flight simulator lets you practice your maneuvers before you try
out your skills in an actual F/A-18. An added benefit is that your
course can be marked out for you with large rectangles in the "sky", so
that you can see where the plane is supposed to go. Of course, you
won't see these rectangles when you actually practice the maneuver, but
they're a great help as you learn.
Learning to fly a maneuver requires the use of the cockpit
instrumentation and a good memory. First, use the Autopilot to watch
the maneuver being performed a few times to get a feel for how the
maneuver proceeds. When you first try the maneuver for yourself, use
Help - each time you get to aq point where you must use the controls,
the flight stops and the correct control to use is displayed.
The countdown clock located on the console constantly counts down to
the next action you should take. Learn to use the countdown clock for
tricky timing. If you're having real trouble with a maneuver, try it at
medium speed or low speed. Once you've mastered it at a slower speed,
then try it fast. Practice correcting for errors using the Evaluator
THE CONTROL PANEL
It's important to familiarize yourself with the simulator controls.
The simulator Console provides a number of indicators that are
extremely helpful when you're learning how to perform a maneuver.
Noting such things as precise timing and altitude when you practice
help you accurately recreate the maneuver during an actual airshow.
Compass: Provides you with your heading.
Countdown Clock: This indicator at the top of the control panel shows
the amount of time before you should start your next joystick action.
This is important in timing your maneuvers.
Left DDI: Shows Help info.
Righ DDI: Shows the name of the maneuver you are attempting and
indicates which plane you are flying in the maneuver.
When you enter the simulator, you must first choose the position in
the maneuver formation that you're going to fly. Highlight one of the
three choices and press the fire button.
If you choose the Diamond position, the usb-menus that follow will
display the Diamond take offs and maneuvers. If you choose either of
the solo positions, the following sub-menus display solo take offs and
The first sub-menu that follows the Position Menu is called Maneuver
Types. Highlight either Take Offs or Maneuvers, and press the fire
button. A list of maneuvers like those in Figure 3, 4 or 5 will appear.
(A complete description of each maneuver is found in Appendix 2.) When
you highlight a maneuver, it is displayed in the cube to the right of
the list. The maneuver is displayed the way the planes fly it.
Once you've chosen a maneuvere to fly, the Operations sub-menu
This sub-menu lets you choose from several features to customize how
to fly and view the maneuver. Features that are fixed are marked by NA
(Not Applicable) and can't be changed.
Help Mode is: Use the joystick to turn the Help feature on or off.
Speed is: Select normal, medium, or low. The slower speeds help you
observe the maneuvers more closely, and give you more time to make
Left DDI is: This determines whether the left Digital Display Indicator
in the cockpit is on or off.
Right DDI is: Determines whether the Right Digital Display Indicator is
on or off.
Sound is: Turns the simulation's sounds on and off.
Airshow type: Chooses airshow type. Press the fire button sequentially
to indicate which type of show you want: flat, high, or low.
Auto pilot is: Lets you turn the automatic pilot on or off.
Start Flight: When you've chosen all of your options, highligh this
option and press Return to begin your flight.
USING THE SIMULATOR
Once you've made your option choices, select Start Flight to begin.
As you fly, the computer will track how accurately you are performing a
maneuver. If you stray too far off the correct path, the screen will
turn red and you'll hear a break message.
When the maneuver is completed or the formation is broken, you will be
taken to the Evaluation Screen.
Evaluation Screen: Replays your performance so that you can see exactly
how and where you strayed from the path of a perfect maneuver. The
screen is divived horizontally into three sections, each of which gives
you a different aeronautical cross-section of your flight. Combined,
you can tell what you did wrong and how you can correct the flight.
Top Section: Yaw is the amount of left and right turn. If your
dotted flight line strays far from the straight line, you need to
work on your turning.
Middle Section: Pitch is the angle that your nose is pointing up and
down. Again, if your dotted line is off the straight one, adjust the
pitch of your jet.
Bottom Section: Roll is the (360 degree) position of your jet
relative to ground. Are you upside down, level, wings perpendicular,
etc.? The straight line shows how you should be; the dotted line
shows if you've rolled too much or not enough.
Maximum Error is the percent you were off the correct path during
the maneuver. If this number exceeds 100%, a break is called.
Average Error is the calculated average percent you were off the
correct path throughout the maneuver.
Repeat Maneuver: Select this option to try the same maneuver over
Main Menu: Select this to return to the Main Menu.
Redraw Full Speed: Select this to redraw the evaluation screen full
Redraw Real Time: Select this to redraw the evaluation screen in real
Once you've trained in the simulator, it's time to strap yourself into
a few million dollars of high-tech aircraft and try it, out for real.
Of course, the view from the cockpit is different, but the instruments
are much the same. Most importantly, you no longer have those handy
rectangles in the sky to guide you through the maneuver. They are now
on the console during practice maneuvers and during the airshow. You
must depend on your instrumentation, memory and piloting skill to
perform each maneuver. Of course, you can still use the Help info on
your DDi to remind you of the proper controls to use at each point in
the maneuver. And the autopilot can help step you through the
The controls and the options are fully described in the previous
section. As in the simulator, when you finish a maneuver, the
Evaluation Screen appears where you can review your performance.
When you go too far off the maneuver's prescribed track, a break is
called out and you must begin the maneuver over again. Thorough
practice on the simulator will make it less likely that you have to
break off a maneuver.
FLYING AN AIRSHOW
Now that you have practiced the maneuvers and are confident in your
ability to fly, it's time to combine those maneuvers into the intricate
high-speed aerial ballet of a Blue Angels airshow. First, examine the
following list of maneuvers for the different types of airshows.
Split S Dirty Roll
Delta Takeoff with Loop Knife Edge
Diamond Loop Opposing Horizontal Roll
Diamond Roll Fortus
Diamond Double Farvel Solo Tuck Away Cross
Diamond Vertical Break Opposing Minimum Radius Turn
Diamond Low Break Cross
Delta 6 Plane Cross
Split S Dirty Roll
Delta Takeoff Knife Edge
Opposing Horizontal Roll
Diamond Roll Fortus
Diamond Double Farvel Solo Tuck Away Cross
Tuck Under Break Opposing Minimum Radius Turn
Left Echelon Roll Afterburner Turn
Fan Break 4 Point Hesitation Roll
Split S Dirty Roll
Delta Takeoff Knife Edge
360 Degree Pass Opposing Horizontal Roll
Diamond Roll Fortus
Diamond Double Farvel Solo Tuck Away Cross
Now that you have reviewed the airshow maneuvers, you're ready to learn
As before, you begin with the Simulator to learn the sequence of
maneuvers. The controls are the same as before, with the exception that
you have no choice of maneuvers to practice - you just choose the type
of airshow, and then you do through the entire set of maneuvers.
Again, use the instrumentation to guide you in your timing. Learn to
spot the cues for the beginning of new maneuvers. Run through at medium
or low speed to get the hang of it, then try full speed.
When you feel confident enough, move into your aircraft and try
This is the final stage of preparation. You've spent a lot of time
getting ready, and here's your chance to make sure you have it all´ down
pat. Again, all you have to do is choose the type of airshow and the
aircraft position. The options are all the same as before, except that
the Help is no longer available.
This is it. All those hours of training and preparation have brought
you to this point. Where you demonstrate your skill in front of
thousands of people. Don't be nervous at the thought of all those eyes
following your every move. Remember those maneuvers that you've drilled
into your nervous system with hours of painstaking practice. Help is no
longer available to you. But this time, the flight patterns should be
second nature to you - you'll do fine. Of course, there's always room
for improvement - and if you reach the highest levels of achievement,
your name is placed on the Pilot's List.
This screen lists the all-time best scores as a percentage of error
from the theoretical "perfect" airshow. The pilots on this list have
performed with incredible accuracy during a demanding series of
maneuvers, and only an outstanding pilot can expect to be listed here.
To make it on the list, you must complete an airshow (in Airshow mode,
that is) at full speed with a lower average error percentage than one
of the pilots on the list. No wimps here.
Press the fire button to return to the Main Menu.
APPENDIX 1: THE BLUE ANGELS
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the
Blue Angels, has performed before more than 210 million spectators
since it was created in 1946. Lieutenant Commander Roy M. "Butch" Voris
was selected to organize and lead the original team. The Blue Angels
performed their first airshow in June of 1946 at Jacksonville, Florida,
flying Grumman F6F Hellcats.
On August 15, 1946, the team began flying the faster and more agile
Grumman F8F Bearcat, using the diamond formation which has since become
the team's trademark. These prop-driven fighters served until 1949,
when the jet-powered Grumman F9F-2 Panther was introduced. The new jets
were painted bright blue with gold lettering and highly polished metal
on the leading wing edges. This jet was flown by the team until the
outbreak of the Korean War in June of 1950.
The Blue Angels served in combat aboard the aircraft carrier USS
Princeton as the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191. It was with "Satan's
Kittens" that Lieutenant Commander Johnny Magda, squadron commanding
officer, was shot down, becoming the first Blue Angel to lose his life
In late 1951, the Blue Angels were reformed using Grumman F9F-5
Panthers, stationed out of Corpus Christi, Texas. In the winter of
1954-55, the team switched to the sweptwing F9F-8 Cougars and moved to
its current base of operations at Pensacola, Florida. The faster Cougar
allowed the introduction of new maneuvers such as the Fleur-de-lis.
The Blue Angels continued a busy performance schedule and were viewed
not only in live airshows but on television and in movies. In mid 1957,
they switched to the new supersonic Grumman F11F-1 Tigers. Despite
differences in aircraft trim, control sensitivity, and power, the team
made the changeover without a schedule disruption.
The Tiger served the Blue Angels for 11 years. Its greater power
allowed the introduction of several new maneuvers, including the
four-plane diamond landing, the six-plane delta landing, the Double
Farvel and the Dirty Roll.
Once again, advances in aviation brought a new aircraft to the team.
The 1969 season saw the Blue Angels using the McDonnell-Douglas F4J
Phantom II. The Phantom made possible the four-plane Line-Abreast Loop,
the inverted Fleur-de-lis, the Tuck-Under Break and echelon landings,
while the two solos were able to fly the opposing Dirty Rolls on
In 1973, the Blue Angels were altered from a Flight Demonstration Team
to the Flight Demonstration Squadron. The next year, under Commander
Tony Less, the squadron switched to the McDonnell-Douglas A-4F Skyhawk
II. Though smaller than the Phantom, the shorter turning radius and
faster roll capabilities of the delta-wing Skyhawks proved very
effective in aerial demonstrations.
Finally, on November 8, 1986, the squadron adopted the single-seat,
twin-engine McDonnell-Douglass F/A-18 Hornet.
The McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a multi-mission,
high-performance tactical aircraft that was designed as both a fighter
and an attack jet. Eventually, it will replace both the A-7 Corsair and
the F-4 Phantom. The Hornet's combination of high power and light
weight give this highly sophisticated aircraft impressive
maneuverability, rate of climb and acceleration.
The Hornet is powered by two General Electric F404-GE-400 low-bypass
turbofan engines that provide 32,000 pounds of thrust. The Hornet can
carry up to 17,000 pounds of armament, including two Sparrow III and
Sidewinder missiles in nine locations. Its radar can track multiple
targets and display up to eight at one time.
The Hornet's excellent reliability and quality workmanship means less
maintenance, repairs, and servicing, and an aircraft ready to fly when
duty calls. The Hornet is the ideal aircraft for the demanding needs of
the Blue Angels Squadron.
APPENDIX 2: DESCRIPTION OF MANEUVERS
There are 30 different maneuvers that can be part of a Blue Angels
airshow. Some of the maneuvers are only performed by certain plane
positions, while others are group maneuvers that all planes perform.
These maneuvers, as you might expect, are performed on takeoff.
All four planes line up in a standard delta formation (one plane, then
two planes, then three planes) with three feet of separation between
their wingtips. They accelerate their engines and carefully check their
indtruments, then take off the brakes and the delta begins its takeoff
Diamond Takeoff with Loop
After takeoff, the Blue Angels go vertical. The aircraft maintain
formation through the inverted position over the top. With incresing
airspeed down the back side, the pilots experience a 4-g force as they
round out the bottom of the loop.
This maneuver is flown only by the lead solo plane. On takeoff Blue
Angel 6 makes a high performance climb followed by a half loop.
On the runway, Blue Angel No.5 accelerates his aircraft to takeoff
velocity. He pulls it up, climbs to 50 feet and, in a spectacular
demonstration of the thrust generated by an F/A-18, rolls his aircraft
360 degrees with the gear and flaps still extended.
These maneuvers are performed by the Blue Angels in formations of four
or six planes.
Diamond Vertical Break
The Blue Angels climb to vertical, turn so the bottoms of the aircraft
face each other, and then break back.
Diamond Low Break Cross
Flying towards the stands, the Blue Angels break diamond formation
with two aircraft flying to the north and two flying to the south. Each
pair performs a three quarter horizontal loop, passing each other at
Delta 6 Plane Cross
From the right, the six-aircraft delta formation performs the front
half of a loop. As the aircraft come over the top at 8,000 feet and
re-enter the vertical, all six break away to six points of the compass.
Each pilot, having accelerated his aircraft to 500 mph, then begins a
Half-Cuban Eight reversal turn. As they pull up and over the top, all
six pilots roll their aircraft 180 degrees and head back toward the
center point. From six points of the compass and generating more than
1,000 mph of closing velocity, the aircraft cross at center point with
From the left, the tight Blue Angel diamond approaches the flight line
at 500 mph. The Angels and their aircraft head up through the vertical.
The pilots maintain formation as they go over the top and round out the
The Blue Angel delta approaches from the left and begins a climb into
the vertical. All aircraft maintain minimum separation as they perform
a graceful looping manuever and exit to the right.
Diamond Double Farvel
The Blue Angel diamond approaches from the right maintaining wingtip
to canopy separation - but aircraft 1 and 4 are upside down.
The diamond approaches from the right and begins a climb. On signal
from the leader, they roll 360 degrees as if welded together. Upon
completion of the roll, they exit the flight line to the left.
With the two solo pilots joining the diamond fliers, a new formation -
the double vee - takes place. The formation begins to climb into a loop
and all aircraft separate and perform individual 360 degree rolls, with
No.5 and No.6 performing horizontal rolls and exiting to the right and
the left. Down the backside of the loop the three wingmen join the No.1
aircraft, and the Blue Angel diamond exits the area to the right.
Diamond 360 Pass
The Blue Angel diamond approaches from the right. In relatively
slow-speed flight at an altitude of 150 feet, the four aircraft pass in
a banked 360 degree turn at 350 mph too give the audience a close look
at the minmum wingtip-to-canopy separation flown by the Angels
(sometimes as close as 12 inches!).
From the diamond the Blue Angels reform into echelon formation. They
then individually perform a 270 degree roll followed by a 180 degree
Left Echelon Roll
Blue Angel No.1 positions his wingmwn in a left echelon. In this
formation, the wingmen are stacked down and aft of the leading aircraft
on a 45 degree bearing line. Then they begin to perform a maneuver the
books say cannot be done - a 360 degree roll to the left.
Tuck Under Break
The diamond formation approaches from either the left or the right
(depending on wind conditions) to set up their break for landing. As
they enter the downwind leg to set up for landing.
Blue Angel No.1 positions his wingmen in a right echelon set, stacking
his wingmen dwn and aft of the flight leader. As all four aircraft
pass in front of the crowd at 300 mph at an altitude of 150 feet, they
appear to be superimposed on one another. This formation is also known
as the Blue Angel Echelon Parade.
These maneuvers are performed by one or both of the solo aircraft.
4 Point Hesitation Roll
The two solo pilots approach one another, roll their aircraft 360
degrees, pausing after each 90 degrees of roll. They cross at a center
point in inverted flight.
Approaching from the left in a two-plane formation with No.5 inverted
and No.6 below his right wingtip, the solo pilots close on the flight
line at 200 mph. The landing gear of both planes is lowered and they
cross center point in landing configuration. After the gear are
retracted, No.5 rolls back to normal flight and the two exit to the
Opposing Horizontal Roll
The two solo pilots, opposing each other toward the center point,
execute a series of three horizontal rolls with minimum separation
Solo Tuck Away Cross
Corning from behind the stands, the two solo planes cross paths, then
loop in front of the stands, crossing form opposite directions with
In a tight two-plane formation with No.5 in the lead and No.6 on his
right wing, No.6 takes nose-to-tail separation on No.5 in preparation
for a crossover roll. The two solos bank steeply toward each other,
pulling to roll out in opposite directions on the flight line directly
before the crowd. The illusion of flying through one another is created
during the execution of the maneuver. Once their wings are on level on
the flight line, both solos pull up to 80 degrees nose high and execute
a series of vertical climbing rolls.
The two solo pilots approach the center point from opposite directions
at 100 feet of altitude. They simultaneously roll their aircraft to 90
degrees of bank, push forward on the stick, and experience weightless
or ballistic flight. They pass at near collision distance.
Opposing Minimum Radius Turn
Both solo planes fly from behind the stands, breaking and crossing in
front of each other about 100 feet in front of the stands. Each then
performs a three-quarter horizontal loop, passing each other at minimum
separation, directly in front of the stands.
The solo performs the tightest possible turn using afterburners for