VERO BEACH, Fla. -- A deadly plane crash killing a Blue Angel pilot Thursday in Tennessee is a devastating reminder to other pilots about the possible dangers of their jobs.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform at the end of June in the Vero Air Show.
Organizers for the show have not said if the crash will impact whether or not the Blue Angels still perform in Vero Beach.
Other scheduled performers, such as Mark Henley with the AeroShell Aerobatic team, say the Blue Angels are always a huge crowd pleaser at air shows they’ve performed at together. Henley says they draw a bigger crowd with higher energy that all pilots enjoy performing for.
Henley hopes the Blue Angels will still perform.
Anyone watching the Blue Angels from the ground might say the pilots look like thrill-seekers or risk takers.
But, Henley will tell you after thousands of flights, what the Blue Angels’ pilots do is mastered and careful.
“They’re absolutely choosing the best of the best. They spend months and months practicing before they ever fly their first air show,” Henley said.
That is why he says it is shocking when a crash like this happens.
“You take all the precautions and you practice and practice. But, sometimes it’s just not meant to be,” Henley said.
Air show organizers are grieving along with many pilots and Blue Angels’ family members. Jan Binney, in Public Relations for the air show, released the following statement: Thank you all for your concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Blue Angels and their families tonight. The accident is under investigation, and we are awaiting further word.
The crash is on Mark Henley’s mind. “You always hear stuff like this and you always wonder, what if?”
But, with a show to perform at this weekend, he says he has his own safety at top of mind, not thinking about the crash. “We’re extremely focused when we’re flying. I have a keen sense of being able to just block all that stuff out,” Henley said.