Blue Angels inspire big dreams |

Blue Angels inspire big dreams

Cmdr. Eric Doyle with his F-18 Hornet at Minden Tahoe Airport on Thursday morning.
Kurt Hildebrand

if you go

What: 2018 Aviation Roundup

When: Gates open 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Show starts around 11:30 a.m.

Where: Minden-Tahoe Airport

Tickets, info:

When Jack Reynolds was around 7 years old in Lake Charles, La., he attended his first air show.

He was so impressed by the performance of the Blue Angels he said he was drawing blue airplanes for three months afterwards.

That performance led Reynolds to sign up with the Navy and become an aviation structural mechanic, eventually working his way onto the team.

“It’s a dream come true,” Reynolds, a first-class petty officer said on Thursday. “Getting on this team was my biggest priority. Aircraft have always been a passion of mine.”

Reynolds was one of the maintainers Blue Angels Commanding Officer Eric Doyle referred to as the best in the world.

Doyle said coming back to Nevada was a little bit like returning home for him.

The commander was stationed at Fallon Naval Air Station for three years.

“I spent a lot of time in Carson Valley,” he said. “I love it here. I would visit on the way to Tahoe and come down and play golf.”

But driving to Carson Valley pales in comparison to flying over it and Lake Tahoe and the Sierra.

Doyle, who has 22 years flying as a Navy combat pilot, has been traveling with the Blue Angels for 13 months and been commanding officers for 11.

“I spent my whole career flying Hornets and other aircraft in the Navy,” he said. “I’ll go back and do it again, just like everyone you see on the field. All the Blue Angels come from the fleet and they all go back to the fleet.”

The team is wrapping up a long West Coast trip in Minden before returning to Pensacola, Fla. They’ve been to San Diego and San Francisco.

“It’s a little more high-paced at times, but we’re home in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “Spending time in the Navy and Marine Corps, you leave home a lot.”

Doyle said he felt that the team offers people a peek at the service they might not otherwise have.

“I look at us as kind of a window into the Navy and Marine Corps, where a lot of folks in Minden or Lake Tahoe don’t get to see F-18s and what we do, they get to come here and see a little bit of us in a few days and we try to share the great things that go on across the world,” he said. “We always remind everyone that we’re here to represent the 800,000 men and women out there deployed. It’s night out there somewhere in the world, and someone is landing on a ship at night to take care of us. They’re doing the hard work out there so we can be here.”

The Aviation Roundup featuring the Blue Angels is Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 10 a.m. with performances starting around 11:30 a.m.

In addition to the Blue Angels there are several aviation performers and static displays including historic and modern aircraft.