Thanks to a recently renovated runway on Cape Canaveral Fla. courtesy of the 2nd and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the Blue Angels were able to perform during the 2nd Annual Space & Air Show at Kennedy Space Center.
To perform, the Blue Angels require arresting gear within 50 nautical miles of the air show in case of an emergency that may occur during flight. No air facility within 50 nautical miles of Cape Canaveral had any such gear, said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Beintema, expedition airfield deputy program manager and fleet liaison.
“Without arresting gear the Blue Angels would need about 8,000 feet of runway to stop,” Beintema said. “Anything shorter runs the risk of heating their breaks.”
The system is designed to allow any tail hook equipped aircraft to land and only need about 950 feet of runway, Beintema said. It acts similar to cables on a carrier, by stopping jets almost immediately during an emergency landing.
“It only takes about two minutes to reset the system and be ready for the next incoming aircraft,” Beintema said.
The arresting gear, which requires four people to operate and catch aircraft, was removed Nov. 10, after the Blue Angels returned to Pensacola, Fla. said Master Gunnery Sgt. Linda E. Field, occupational field manager for expeditionary airfield and aircraft rescue fire fighting.
“The system is expeditionary, it can be installed anywhere,” “If we wanted to install it on a piece of highway we could do that.” Beintema said.
Construction of the system onto the runway started Nov. 1 and was tested concurrently with installation inspections as the project progressed.
“It would have been a show stopper without the arresting gear support of the Marines,” said Bennis J. Dunbar, vice president of operations for AirSupport. “The Marines did an awesome job as usual.”