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Blue Angels soar over Annapolis with death-defying maneuvers in flight demonstration

Blue Angels bring thrills to the air over the Severn River
Blue Angels bring thrills to the air over the Severn River 02:55

BALTIMORE -- The iconic Blue Angels showcased death-defying maneuvers over the Severn River on Wednesday as part of the U.S. Naval Academy's Commissioning Week.

Flying at nearly the speed of sound, about 700 mph, the U.S. Navy's world-renowned flight demonstration squadron wows crowds in Annapolis every year. 

The Blue Angels celebrated one of the most important weeks at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Ray and Linda Hartzell, who are in a full-fledged Navy family with decades of military service combined, joined thousands in Annapolis to watch the aerobatic team perform stunts in the sky.   

"So when they're doing some of the maneuvers, they're pulling a lot of G's — especially like the solos because, you know, that's two people coming in from opposite ends and they're going really fast. 500 or 600 mph, and things happen pretty fast," Ray Hartzell said. 

Woven into Annapolis's history, visitors of all ages come from near and far to see the Blue Angels.

"I decided to see the Blue Angels," Floyd Alexander said. "I never imagined — it is my first year." 

The pilots showcased their flying skills and modern naval air power. The F/A-18's flip and zip through the sky.

"It takes me back to when I was doing that, and training, you know, formation and say, 'I can do the maneuvers,'" Ray Hartzell said. "I just can't do them with five other guys in my wing."

Hartzell says those skills are certainly not easy.

"I look at how close they are and how the person that is flying formation is very difficult and you've got to be watching things very closely," Hartzell said. "I've watched the blues for 50 years and I've had friends that have been on the Blue Angels, which is cool." 

"It means everything, especially with the graduation of Midshipmen, having their parents and family here, and just people visiting from all over getting to see Annapolis and how great this city is," Alexander said. 

If you missed Wednesday's demonstration, try catching the flyover on Friday, when the squadron soars over the Naval Academy graduation. 

The graduation and commissioning ceremony for the Class of 2024 will take place on Friday at 10 a.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis. 

Visit the United States Naval Academy website for the full commissioning schedule. 

Expect some traffic, Annapolis 

In the days before the graduation and commissioning ceremony, Annapolis residents and visitors alike should expect heavy traffic, temporary road and bridge closures, parking limitations, and increased security downtown.

On Friday, security around the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium could make traffic slower than usual until 3 p.m. 

Parking will be limited throughout the week, but you can visit Annapolis Parking to reserve garage parking at Gott's and Knighton garages.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to park at Knighton and Park Place garages and take the free downtown "magenta" shuttle. The shuttle can be tracked using the transloc app or online

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