In late April 2020, the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds dazzled the country with a series of 12-ship flybys of major American cities. In this video, former Thunderbirds commanding officer Richard McSpadden comments on what it takes to fly those demos and formations.


  1. How much did all of that cost? As one of the biggest Angels and Birds fans, but also the husband of a critical care, front-line physician, I can’t help but wonder if, under the current circumstances, the DOD money “it takes to fly those demos and formations”…that “dazzled the country” could have been better spent on providing the desperately needed PPE to the brave Americans to which the flybys were dedicated?

    • Honestly….”How much did it cost?” Really! These guys and gals, their commanders and everyone up the chain of command, wonderful people, all are doing something good, uplifting, positive for the good American People subjected to this virus which was not of their making and all of its ramifications! Each day, week, month these professionals need constant training which is a fixed cost! Formation flying coordination isn’t something a human is just born with. It comes from hyper expensive training, practice, normally at their home base and on the road improving their skills each and every flight. To where it becomes natural. Pilots must be serious in what they do and we see they are. Did this man’s wife just magically become a physician? No, she did not, it took her years and years of study with hands on experience to be the angel of mercy and help for others she is. Lots of dedication, right? We all are valuable. We each have our talents to help others. The cost of training one of these pilots is some of the most expensive training in all of the job requirements of mankind’s. It should be appreciated, not hidden from view. Good pilots are not a Dime a Dozen like some financial experts would like to have you believe. Does Mr. Donn want them to sit in a room, breath air and do nothing to SAVE MONEY for what? His comment – biggest Angels and Birds fan…really? Really, he is a fan? Wants to hide them then? Until when? When they are needed to magically pop up out of their ready room chairs like in some fictional Hollywood movie and defend us against the Aliens? Last time I looked, we all have our jobs. Why not share this uplifting experience with all Americans? For it is uplifting! I watched the Blue Angels from the roof of a 40 story building fly over Houston and circile our medical center, a truly world class facility with great professionals in their many fields, helping others. It was a great experience to make our day! Wish I could have been up there with them! But, Father Time has its hold on me at 73! Good on them! I wish to thank them so very, very much for making that day a wonderful experience for an old guy like me, who’s time holding the stick and rudders is past.

      • The money to do this likely already came from their already allocated operations and maintenance budget for this year. They did this tour instead of the normal airshow schedule. They maintained proficiency and provided the country with a little morale boost (An F-18 never fails to boost my morale). I’d say the taxpayer came out ahead.