More than 100 members of Blue Angels team play vital behind-the-scenes roles in jaw-dropping air shows

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Blue Angels are back in town and ready to wow thousands of people with some high-flying action at the Sea and Sky Air Show in Jacksonville Beach this weekend.

The squadron has been practicing this week at the beaches, and it is incredible to watch.

But watching the precision flying, it might be easy to forget the amount of preparation that goes in to just getting the six jets in the air.

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Lt. Cmdr. Chris Kapuchansky, the No. 2 Right Wing for the Blue Angels, said he could not perform at his best without people like crew chief Chelsie Roberson.

“Every single day there is a lot of trust and a lot of professionalism that goes into exactly what we do,” Kapuchansky said. “We have 147 people on this team. We have 16 officers, and the rest are maintainers. What people do not see is the behind-the-scenes and those maintainers that take care of these airplanes, like Chelsie.”

The crews put in countless hours of maintenance and intense planning to give people an incredible experience. That preparation starts early each day.

Roberson said before a show, she goes through a rigorous 20-minute process before Kapuchansky or another pilot jumps in the seat.

“I’ll make sure that I strap [the] gear in pretty well,” Roberson said. “I test the systems. I run everything up. We test GPS, radar, all of the things that they are going to need for the flight demonstration. We walk the jets and make sure that they are structurally sound and are good to go.”

Roberson, who is from Jacksonville, said she and other crew members are always thinking of what to do to make the show flawless and at the same time ensure they keep the pilots safe.

“The last thing I want is to cause any trouble or anything to happen to [the pilot],” Roberson said. “I make sure that I literally dot my i’s and cross my t’s to make sure everything is good to go before [they] get in that jet.”

The free shows will be from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Jacksonville Beach.

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https://www.news4jax.com/news/2023/10/20/more-than-100-members-of-blue-angels-team-play-vital-behind-the-scenes-roles-in-jaw-dropping-air-shows/ More than 100 members of Blue Angels team play vital behind-the-scenes roles in jaw-dropping air shows

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