blue angels

Fresh off their season-ending performance over NAS Pensacola, the Blue Angels welcomed a new boss on Sunday at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

The hour-long ceremony, filled with Navy traditions, said goodbye to Captain Tom Frosch and greeted Commander Ryan Bernacchi, who takes over for the next two seasons. Rear Admiral Michael White told the packed atrium that these days, there are a number of debates over the Blues’ return on investment, especially if recruiting is up after a show.

Photo via Flickr// John P.// /

  Thousands of Blue Angels fans will crowd aboard NAS Pensacola on Friday and Saturday, for the flight demonstration team’s homecoming, and season-ending, performance.

2015 took the Blues across the United States, beginning in March above their winter home in El Centro, California; 68 performances at 38 venues later, the season closes at home.

Capt. Tom Frosch is also wrapping up his time as team commander. But his thoughts this weekend will be the same, as they were during his first show in 2013.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to local beach tourism and his latest viewpoint on wage growth.

First, visitors and locals alike will be celebrating Independence Day across the gulf coast this weekend.

According to Harper, the forward looking indicators are very strong.

“We’re seeing low gas prices, lowest they’ve been really in about five years,” he said. “We’re also seeing job growth.”

U.S. Navy

The Blue Angels announced the commanding officer for the 2016 and 2017 seasons on Monday. And he’s coming to the team from both the cockpit and the classroom.

“I’m still very overwhelmed and humbled by the news I just received, and I’m absolutely thrilled by this opportunity,” said Commander Ryan Bernacchi.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses significant local happenings, including Pensacola’s new 12-day fall cultural event, the Foo Foo Festival.

The Blue Angels will celebrate homecoming and the end of the 2014 performance season this weekend, with a first-ever three-day event at Sherman Field aboard NAS Pensacola.

This is the first homecoming in two years, thanks to sequester – the across-the-board federal budget cuts that grounded the Navy flight squadron. Blue Angels commander, Capt. Tom Frosch says the biggest challenge was how to keep the team intact for 2014.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on Blue Angels weekend on Pensacola Beach. ‘Red, White and Blues Week’ follows the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which provides a critical boost to the local tourism industry over a stretch of about a week-and-a-half.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the month of July to Northwest Florida’s tourism industry.

“In our climate zone, July is far and away the biggest month. It’s the month in which hoteliers and restaurateurs are able to charge top dollar, keep the place full. That’s when they pack away the profits they’ll need to make their lease or mortgage payments throughout the rest of the year,” says Harper, who adds that there are indications that it’s a good July this year.

Blue Angels

Final preparations are being made on Santa Rosa Island, for next weekend’s Blue Angels air show, the first since 2012. 

For Buck Lee, Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, what a difference a year makes. He says the cancelation of most of the flight demonstration team’s 2013 season now has many of their fans viewing them in a new light.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Michael Lindsey/Released

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Pensacola Naval Air Station has a new aircraft on display at the main gate. As part of a series of events to celebrate the base’s 100 year anniversary, a special ceremony was held Tuesday to unveil the new plane: partial coverings were removed, revealing special details on the plane,  which was painted in the Blue Angels blue and gold.