LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Many children will watch in awe this weekend as the Blue Angels take over the skies of Lakeland.
It may even inspire some to pursue a career in aviation. They would be following in the footsteps of one of the Blue Angels pilots.
“I grew up in San Francisco, California watching the Blue Angels fly the fleet week air show every single year,” said Lt. Scott Goossens. “It’s really what sparked my interest in aviation. I never thought one day I’d actually be able to be a Blue Angel but I wanted to fly jets in the Navy. I knew that.”
It’s Lt. Goossens’ second season as a Blue Angel. He flies in the slot position.
“If you see the diamond, I’m the jet that’s right behind boss, kind of balancing and setting formation,” he said.
He and the rest of the Blue Angels pilots and support team arrived in Lakeland Thursday morning, ahead of a weekend of shows at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo.
This is the fourth show of the Blue Angels’ 77th season.
“We’re here to encourage people to follow their dreams and be the best at whatever it is that they want to do, put all their effort into that. While doing so, hopefully, give back to their community and be a part of something that’s larger than themselves,” he said.
Lt. Goossens said the pilots do not break the sound barrier at their air shows. They do not want to shatter any windows, he said.
But the pilots do pull 7 G’s and get within two feet of other jets at some points in the show.
“We’re demonstrating not only the maximum performance capabilities of the F/A-18 Super Hornet but also the precision flying that’s tied to all Navy and Marine Corps pilots,” said Lt. Goossens. “It is an absolute thrill of a lifetime.”
His favorite move is the double farvel, where he and another pilot flip over midair and fly upside down. It’s a highlight for Commander Alex Armatas too.
“The double farvel is one that is particularly enjoyable, particularly challenging but they’re all great,” he said.
He knows his shows impress audiences of all ages.
“For every kid that sees that and wants to be a part of it, my message to them is awesome. Come join us. Come be a part of the team,” said Cdr. Armatas.
The Blue Angels will be performing at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.