SGTC Aircraft Structural Instructor meets first female Blue Angel pilot
Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023
By Su Ann Bird
PENSACOLA, FL – A trip to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show earlier this month allowed South Georgia Technical College Aircraft Structural Instructor Jason Wisham to meet Lt. Amanda Lee, the Navy’s first Blue Angels female pilot.
The NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show is Pensacola’s largest event attracting nearly 180,000 spectators during the two-day event. The theme this year was “Celebrating Women in Aviation” and included an incredible lineup of aerobatic performers including the Blue Angels with Lt. Amanda Lee.
SGTC’s Wisham attended the event with John Edgemon, Jr. of Americus. The two flew down to the Air Show in Edgemon’s plane. Edgemon served in the U.S. Army for over eight years, signing up exclusively to fly helicopters. He attended helicopter school at Ft. Rucker, AL. He flew Apache helicopters and was deployed for a year in Korea, a year in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan.
Edgemon had learned to fly a small airplane, a Cessna 172 at Souther Field (now Jimmy Carter Regional Airport) prior to his military service and still enjoys flying. He invited Wisham to fly down with him to the air show.
“This is the first time I had been to the Air Show in Pensacola. I had never seen the Blue Angels perform before. It is almost unheard of to get to meet or see the Blue Angels pilots close up at an Air Show,” said Jason. “There were so many people at the Air Show Saturday that when it was over, we just decided to hang out and wait rather than sit in traffic. And I was glad we did. While we were waiting, the Blue Angels pilots drove up and parked right behind us and we were able to meet Lt. Amanda Lee.”
The Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the US Navy Blue Angels, selected Lt. Amanda Lee as their first female F/A 18E/F demonstration pilot in 2022. Lt. Lee, originally from Mounds View, Minnesota, graduated from Old Dominion University in 2013 with a degree in biochemistry. She enlisted in the Navy and served as an aviation electronics technician before applying for Officer Candidate School (OCS), where she became a naval aviator in 2016. She was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA 106), the “Gladiators,” prior to being named a Blue Angel.
Wisham’s only regret was that he didn’t have anything for Lt. Lee to sign, but he did manage to get a photo with her. “It was a great trip,” said Wisham, who added that he was also recruiting for the college and left fliers at the air show to let others know about the aviation maintenance and aircraft structural programs available at SGTC.
“I have seen the Air Force Thunderbirds perform but this was a dream come true to be able to actually see and meet a Blue Angel pilot,” said Wisham. “I guess you can say that good things come to those who wait. We decided to wait out the traffic and we had the opportunity to see and talk with the Blue Angel pilots.”
Wisham and Edgemon also visited the displays at the Airshow and toured the Air Navy Museum. When asked to describe the air show Wisham said, “There is so much noise, it is like being at a NASCAR race. It is unbelievable to see what those pilots and airplanes can do. But it was a dream come true to meet the Blue Angels.”
South Georgia Technical College is currently registering students for Spring Semester 2024. Classes start January 11. Registration is planned for January 9. Students can apply online at www.southgatech.edu. It is not too late to sign up for classes.