First female Blue Angel pilot awarded wings


Chief Petty Officer Paul Archer /

Lt. Amanda Lee is the first female Blue Angel pilot, becoming a source of inspiration for many aspiring girls across the country.

Talia Bumanglag '24, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Blue Angels have been soaring through the sky for many years, yet only recently has the first female Blue Angel demonstration pilot finally exceeded the sky’s limits. 

On July 18, Lt. Amanda Lee was announced as the first woman demonstration pilot for the Navy’s Blue Angels. 

Though there have been many women who have served the Blue Angels as pilots and the Navy overall, Lee is specifically the first to be a demonstration pilot. Unlike the Thunderbirds of the Air Force and other branches of the military, female inclusivity in the Blue Angels has been scarce.

“I think their selection process is a little bit more stringent, and I think they just have a [smaller] pool of people to choose from,” said Abe Go ’12. 

Go is an active captain in the Air Force currently stationed in Alaska, and a Riordan alumnus. He went through undergrad flight training, then trained flying the F-15 in Oregon, and was most recently stationed in England. 

He added, “We live in an age where opportunities are more available… it’s definitely not an easy process, and takes extensive physical and mental education.”

Lt. Lee will be joining 24 other extraordinary women serving the Blue Angels and is currently assigned to the Gladiators, a naval air station in Virginia. 

“I think times are catching up,” stated Stuart Kaler, former captain of the U.S. Air Force and science teacher at Riordan. “I don’t know why this is now the first time they have assigned a female for this…women have been flying fighter jets for 40 something years.” 

Sophia Trapsi ’24 said, “I think this story is inspiring to those who are kind of on the fence about it, but I think hearing this story will convince them fully to join.”

Though the Blue Angels have been flying for far more than 70 years, Lee is the first and definitely not the last woman to epitomize the saying, “the sky is not the limit.”