You don't need to be a sailor anymore to fly like a Blue Angel. Anyone can now practice aileron rolls with the Navy's elite demonstration via a new app that lets you steer the virtual F/A-18 Hornets with a smart phone.
Children and adults of all ages dream of flying formations and maneuvers with the Navy's elite demonstration squadron. And now, even if you can't get into flight school, you can still practice your aileron rolls in a free app from an Italian developer that specializes in aviation simulators.
"Blue Angels: Aerobatic SIM," released on July 15 for iPhone and Android, puts the player in the cockpit above real air show locales, using the phone's tilt control to steer the jets through real Blue Angels moves.
Developers from RORTOS spent a year collaborating with Naval Air Training Command and the Office of Naval Research to get the game just right and earn an official licensing agreement with the Navy, according to CNATRA's associate counsel and resident trademark expert.
"When they contacted us, we had to kind of vet them, look into their background," Joel Bouvé told Navy Times in a Wednesday phone interview.
CNATRA had been looking into developing an app to promote Navy aviation, he said, and RORTOS seemed like a great fit, with about a dozen games and 55 million downloads in the four years since they got started.
The developers made a couple trips to Pensacola, Florida to meet with the team and review the game's experience for accuracy, while working with the Navy on their business and marketing plan.
"I think because of the fact that their CEO is a pilot himself, they did a very good job on being very accurate from the beginning," Bouvé said.
In the end, the Navy awarded the developers a three-year deal to use the Blue Angels name and imagery in the game.
"We are grateful for the pilots and the whole team of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels who provided an accuracy verification that allowed us to create an exciting simulator for a unique and engaging gaming experience," RORTOS CEO Roberto Simonetto said in a Sunday press release.
The fleetNavy will also be making an appearance in some of RORTOSortos' other games, including "Carrier Landings," which will have Navy tail numbers and squadron insignia in the future.
The main thing CNATRA looks for when authorizing a trademark, Bouvé said, is that the product — a game, in this case — fits into the Navy's mission to educate the public and promote the service.
"There’s two parts to this app," he said. "There’s a tab that you use in the game, and there’s also an info tab on the left side that gives out team information."
There, gamers can read about the Blue Angels staff, check the show schedule and learn more about the team's F/A-18 Hornets and C-130 Fat Alberts.
In the game, players can fly either as solo pilots or control the entire delta and diamond formations, as well as fly Fat Albert. It's integrated with Google Earth to give accurate representations of show sites — El Centro, California is included, but others can be purchased in-app — along with real-time weather conditions. Or a player can set their own weather.
You can also create your own maneuvers and organize your own air show in your chosen location.
"All of those things and the graphics associated with the apps we’re putting out coincide with that mission," Bouvé added, "to get kids interested in aviation, in flight."
"Blue Angels: Aerobatic Sim" is available now in the iTunes and Google Play stores, with versions for PC and Xbox coming soon, according to the RORTOS release.
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