The first Blue Angels female demonstration pilot Lt Amanda Lee will fly for the first time in public during the NAF El Centro Annual Air Show on March 11, 2023.
Lieutenant Amanda ‘Stalin’ Lee was a former Rhino Demo Team Lead pilot. She joined Blue Angels in September 2022 to fly as a #3 Left Wing position.
Blue Angels already had a female pilot - Marine Capt. Katie Higgins became a Fat Albert pilot in 2015, but she wasn’t part of the main F/A-18 demonstration team.
The Thunderbirds first female demo pilot Lt Nicole Malachowski flew with the squadron back in 2005 to 2007 airshow seasons. Lt Nicole Malachowski also flew as a #3 Left Wing.
Lieutenant Amanda Lee is a native of Mounds View, Minnesota. She graduated from Irondale High School in 2004, where she competed in soccer, ice hockey and swimming. While attending the University of Minnesota Duluth, Amanda enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician (AT) and reported to her first command, VFA-136 “Knighthawks.” She was selected to commission as a Pilot through the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) commissioning program in 2009. The following year, Lee attended the Naval Science Institute (NSI) for officer training in Newport, Rhode Island, and simultaneously began her studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry.
Amanda earned her commission in the U.S. Navy in August 2013, and reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, to begin training as a Naval Pilot. She completed Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API) in April 2014 and completed Primary flight training in November 2014 in the T-6B Texan II at NAS Whiting Field while attached to VT-2 “Doerbirds.” Next, she reported to NAS Kingsville, Texas, where she completed intermediate and advanced flight training in the T-45C Goshawk while attached to VT-22 “Golden Eagles.” Lee was designated a Naval Aviator in April 2016.
After earning her wings of gold, Amanda received orders to the “Gladiators” of VFA-106 at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for training in the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Her first fleet assignment was with the “SUNLINERS” of VFA-81 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, where she completed two combat deployments aboard USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) supporting Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), Operation Freedom Sentinel (OFS), and NATO Exercise Trident Juncture. In conjunction with flying, she served as the Schedules Officer, Coffee Mess Officer, Line Division Officer, and Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) Officer.
Upon completing her 2019-2020 deployment, Amanda reported back to VFA-106 as an F/A-18 E/F Instructor Pilot (IP) to train newly winged naval aviators and naval flight officers in the tactical employment of the Super Hornet. Throughout her time at VFA-106, Amanda served as a Schedules Officer, Head Operations Representative, Detachment Planning Officer, Senior Watch Officer, and Rhino Demo Team Lead.