A U.S. Blue Angels F/A-18E sustained “minor damage” after a bird strike during the team’s practice in Annapolis Tuesday.
According to Lt. Chelsea Dietlin, public information officer for the Blue Angels, “There was minor damage to flight control surfaces of a Blue Angels F/A-18E aircraft due to a bird strike Tuesday. The aircraft damage was repaired by the squadron’s maintainers and did not impact flight operations Tuesday or the performance performance yesterday.”
Dietlin continued, “The safety of the community and our personnel remain the team’s number one priority. We continue to evaluate and improve processes within the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program to minimize wildlife hazards to air operations, and ensure a safe and entertaining demonstration for the public.”
Boaters in the area reported seeing the bird come down.
According to Mary Kay Robertson, “It dropped right in front of the boat I was on. Law enforcement swooped in and retrieved it as soon as it happened. We had blood splats and pieces from the bird all over the 5 boats which were tied up with us.”
Robertson reported, “We also had very small pieces of the plane drop on a couple of the boats.”
Robertson said it was only the remains of bird that was picked up by law enforcement. Boaters kept the small pieces of the plane. She said she does not have any of those pieces.
According to Lauren Moses, public information officer for Maryland Natural Resources Police, “We can confirm that a blue angels plane did strike a Cormorant this past week. While we did secure the deceased bird, we did not obtain any parts of the aircraft.”
According to Dietlin, “Law enforcement has not reported any collected materials to the squadron.”
The Blue Angels were in Annapolis for the U.S. Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Blue Angels. They were unable to do a show or practice in Annapolis last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.