Meet the First Female Pilot in the Blue Angel’s 69-Year History

The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, showing people across the country the techniques Navy aviators are capable of — performing some maneuvers that put planes 18-inches apart in the air. Made up of an elite group of 16 officers, the team members are Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots who have flown at least 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours. And, since the Blue Angels’ founding in 1946, the qualifying pilots have always been men. 

After flying with the Blue Angels at the Marine Corps Beaufort Air Show last weekend, Military Corps Captain Katie Higgins is making space in the sky for female pilots. Higgins saw the Blue Angels fly when she was a kid, and she comes from a family of military aviators. While she didn’t set out to be a pioneer, she’s glad to show girls that they can fly.

"I think by including a lady on the team, that just shows little girls and guys that women can do whatever they put their mind to," Higgins told CBS. "Little girls have told me that they didn't even know that ladies could fly aircraft, that women could be in the cockpit."


Diamond Aileron Roll! @usnavyblueangels @mattsuyderhoud

A video posted by Katie Higgins (@gearupflapsup) on

"I definitely didn't come on the team to break any barriers or anything like that, that definitely wasn't my agenda," Higgins added. "It just so happened that I was the first female to perform in a demo here, and if that is inspiring to people, if that's inspiring to little girls around the country, then I'm doing my job."

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