Blue Angels Practice For Weekend Air Show in Duluth

Updated: 08/21/2014 10:23 PM
Created: 08/21/2014 6:19 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

It's breathtaking and maybe a little nerve racking to watch, but it's a typical day at the office for Lieutenant Commander John Hiltz.

"This is my third season on the Blue Angels," Hiltz said. "I've been in the Navy for 12 and half years."

The Blue Angels went up for a practice run Thursday. They're in town for the Duluth Air Show that kicks off on Saturday.

"We have the ability to go around the country to showcase what the Navy and Marine Corps are capable of," Hiltz said.

That includes flying in formations within 12 inches of other planes. Hiltz said they don't use a special censor; it's all done by sight.

"It's indicative of the kind of trust and teamwork you have to have if you're fighting in the America military," Hiltz said.

Also in town this week, Maintenance Chief Bruce Kunkel who is originally from Rochester.

"It feels awesome anytime you can come back to the great state of Minnesota," Kunkel said.

Kunkel helps keep the blue planes flying. It's a lot of work given some of them are 20 years old.

"This is kind of considered our grandpa of the fleet, but it's a true fighter," Kunkel said about the plane that Hiltz flies.

Spectators looking forward to the Duluth Air Show may be concerned about the forecast this weekend. The Blue Angels said heavy rain, heavy fog or lightening nearby would ground them, but they are determined to get up in the air to entertain.

"We're very flexible," Hiltz said. "We have several different versions of our performance that we can do. We have a high show, low show and a flat show."

The Blue Angels have a dress rehearsal planned for Friday. They'll be performing Saturday and Sunday at 2:45 p.m.

Front Page

  • Justin's 2014-2015 Winter Prediction

    Winter is right around the corner and the question on everybody's mind is will we have a winter like last year.  With record stretches of cold and record snowfall last year is one we one like to forget. Chief meteorologist Justin Liles lets us know what we can expect this year

  • Woman in Douglas Co. Shootout was found Unresponsive in House Fire Day Before

    A 22-year-old Lake Nebagamon woman was hospitalized on Wednesday evening after an armed standoff with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. On Tuesday, authorities say that same woman was found by her neighbors unresponsive and not breathing after they saw flames coming from a downtown Lake Nebagamon home. 

  • Funding for Military Funeral Personnel Restored

    On Thursday, Rep. Rick Nolan received a letter from the Secretary of the Army that funding for the playing of "Taps," a rifle salute, and delivering a folded American flag will be restored.

  • Preparing for Ebola: Health System Working Together

    People who work in the Northland's health system are communicating on a regular basis, to prepare for Ebola, even though it's unlikely to appear here.

  • St. Luke's Honored by American Heart Association

    St. Luke's received three honors from the American Heart Association on Thursday, for their approach and teamwork when taking care of heart and stroke patients.


Lake Effect Snow Advisory

Expires: 10/31/2014 11:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Ontonagon; Southern Houghton
Expires: 10/31/2014 12:00 PM

Lakeshore Flood Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Alger; Baraga; Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Marquette; Ontonagon
Expires: 10/31/2014 2:00 PM