TODAY   |  March 23, 2014

Blue Angels return to the skies in full force

A victim of the sequestration cuts, the Blue Angels military jets were grounded last year. Now they’re back, and spirits are soaring. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> the blue angels are back. their stunts are as impressive as ?rever. the elite navy flyers were grounded last year due to budget cuts. the people who turned out to see them couldn't be happier they're back. joe fryer has the report.

>> reporter: it's no surprise what's drawing tens of thousands of spectators to the los angeles county air show .

>> the blue angels are flying again. something i didn't want to miss.

>> reporter: the blue angels have already been missed plenty over the last year. now they're back.

>> the adrenaline rush . when you see what these gentlemen and ladies can do with an aircraft, it's a spectacular feeling.

>> reporter: this demonstration marks their return to the skies after federal budget cuts kept these military jets from flying at air shows .

>> the flying isn't the best part about being a blue angel . it's the crowd interaction. that's what i miss the most.

>> reporter: especially the interaction with kids.

>> dad, dad, i want to be them when i grow up. i want to be them when i grow up.

>> reporter: the blue angels were created nearly 70 years ago, their mission to showcase the pride and professionalism of the u.s. navy and marine corps .

>> something about aviation always fascinated me.

>> reporter: lead solo mile pi lot lieutenant commander dave tickle says while they were grounded last season, they continued reaching out, visiting libraries and schools. but nothing beats the connection they can make by performing breathtaking stunts in mid air.

>> bringing us to america's back yard and showing them what we do, the pride we take in our job, an amazing opportunity.

>> reporter: once on the ground, the pilots are down to earth.

>> you look up to them. they are role models that won't later disappoint you.

>> reporter: now they're back, reminding us all the sky really is the limit. for "today," joe fryer, nbc news, lancaster, california.