This is one of the first viral videos, and it was certainly the first for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its websites. It was made in April 2006.
It's easy to forget that YouTube debuted only in 2005, ushering in the modern era of the viral video.
Wikipedia suggests that viral video might actually have begun with the clips that circulated by word-of-mouth, film festivals and VHS tapes. Long before social media, an unintentionally campy anti-drug film called "Reefer Madness" made the rounds of college campuses in the 1970s.
The Blue Angels video went viral on ajc.com, with people from all over the United States clicking to laugh at reporter Steve Beatty as the pilot, Lt. Kevin Davis, took his F/A-18 Hornet jet through the loop-the-loops. Ajc.com leaders were surprised when it began eating up so much bandwidth that they had to briefly take it down.
The story has a sad postscript. Davis was killed a year later during the final minutes of an airshow in Beaufort, S.C. Davis had put his aircraft into a 6.8-G load maneuver and lost consciousness.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.