A bird threw a wrench into the plans of the Navy’s elite flying squadron Saturday when it glided into the engine of one of the Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornets during an air show in Vero Beach, Florida.
Lt. Tyler Davis, who was piloting the lead aircraft at the time of the incident, was able to safely land the jet without any additional complications, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
“Bird strikes are fairly common, and our pilots, and all naval aviators, are trained to deal with any number of contingencies that could occur during flight,” said Lt. David Gardner, squadron spokesman.
The air show’s marketing director said the bird caused an estimated $1 million in damage to the jet’s engine, according to the report.
An attempt to identify the type of bird involved in the mishap is underway in an effort to minimize future complications, Gardner said.
But while officials work to ascertain which avian culprit was responsible for the blunder, the Blue Angels are busy celebrating their 72nd birthday.
Ordered into existence by then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz on April 24, 1946, the formation of the elite exhibition team was intended to demonstrate air power, keep the public actively engaged in naval aviation and boost the morale of all involved.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.