Nissan GTR with The Blue Angels

We've been hearing about automobiles being inspired by jets for decades. Saab even used it as a slogan for a number of years. But what exactly does it mean? Nissan recently paid a visit to the United States Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron training facility to get a feel for the fighter jets they fly as well as how the pilots interact with their machines.

The result? Well, we still don't know what it means for a car to be inspired by jets... Nissan says its "personnel returned with a number of creative ideas and actionable items from both a design and product development standpoint," but the Japanese automaker declines to get more specific. Maybe the next GT-R will come with an ejector seat, or perhaps a joystick in lieu of a steering wheel. But probably not.

Even if we don't quite get it, that doesn't mean nothing good came from the exercise. Blue Angels airframe structural mechanic Eric Vandamme (who has the second best name ever) got the chance to drive a new Nissan GT-R, and he came away predictably impressed: "If I had the keys to the jet, I would trade you," he says. We know a GT-R doesn't come cheap, but we suspect Nissan would make out quite well in that fantasy transaction.

Want to watch a video produced by Nissan about the Blue Angels and how its engineers were inspired? Of course you do. Scroll below for the news broadcast-style story, where you'll also find a related press release.

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Nissan Gains Inspiration from Unexpected Place

-The U.S. Navy Blue Angels give Nissan glimpse into fighter jet cockpit design for sports car development-

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - A team of designers and product planners from Nissan recently landed in Pensacola, Fla. to visit the United States Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron training facility. The objective of their mission was simple: find inspiration.

The Nissan personnel observed the Blue Angels squadron in action, and then met with both ground crew and pilots to explore ways of harnessing the command's speed and power for use in future automotive products. These Blue Angels team members were then given an opportunity to drive some of Nissan's performance products.

The Nissan team was also able to ask Blue Angels pilots about how they interact with their gauges and instruments in different situations to gather insight for the development of future vehicles. The Blue Angels pilots and ground crew also gave the Nissan team feedback on the exteriors, interiors and ride and handling of the Nissan vehicles on hand.

"We're always looking for inspiration beyond the auto industry in the design and development of our performance vehicles, and the Blue Angels have set the standard for high-speed excellence throughout their 66-year history. It was beneficial not only to study the designs of the 'Angels' F-18s up close but to get an understanding of how pilots and service personnel interact with their jets," said Jared Haslam, Senior Manager, Product Planning - Nissan Americas.

The Nissan personnel returned with a number of creative ideas and actionable items from both a design and product development standpoint. Many of these concepts will provide inspiration that will eventually be passed along to Nissan customers.

"We are thankful to the U.S. Navy and the Blue Angels for their overall service to the nation and for the professionalism, hospitality and inspiration given to the Nissan team on our recent visit," added Jared Haslam, Senior Manager, Product Planning - Nissan Americas.

Dynamic video and photos were also captured during Nissan's visit and can be viewed online at

About the Blue Angels
The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.

For more information or to learn when the Blue Angels will be performing an air show in your area, visit

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and