Navy’s Blue Angels return to skies over California

NAF EL CENTRO, Calif. (March 15, 2014) -- The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, jet pilots -- wearing "throwback" gold flight suits -- commence their pre-flight walkdown, at the first Blue Angel flight demonstration of the 2014 air show season at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.  Throughout the Blue Angels' history, the gold flight suit has been worn to commemorate special milestones for the Navy and Marine Corps' premiere flight demonstration squadron. Today, the Blue Angels pilots and officers are wearing the commemorative gold flight suit to celebrate the team's return to America's skies. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Andrea Perez/RELEASED)
NAF EL CENTRO, Calif. (March 15, 2014) -- The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, jet pilots -- wearing "throwback" gold flight suits -- commence their pre-flight walkdown, at the first Blue Angel flight demonstration of the 2014 air show season at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif. Throughout the Blue Angels' history, the gold flight suit has been worn to commemorate special milestones for the Navy and Marine Corps' premiere flight demonstration squadron. Today, the Blue Angels pilots and officers are wearing the commemorative gold flight suit to celebrate the team's return to America's skies. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Andrea Perez/RELEASED)

EL CENTRO, California (AP) — The Blue Angels are headed back into the wild blue yonder a year after U.S. budget cuts grounded the Navy’s famous daredevil fliers.

The aerobatics team is scheduled to perform its first 2014 show on Saturday at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of San Diego.

The Blue Angels normally do about three dozen shows annually but got into the air only twice last year.

That was a disappointment not only to aviation fans, but to small communities in outlying areas that count on the tourist dollars they attract.

The Angels’ commanding officer, Thomas Frosch, tells the Imperial Valley Press his team spent much of its downtime practicing for this year’s full slate of shows.

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