West Seattle, Washington
(August 2015 photo by Steve Jensen)
The first questions have landed in the WSB inbox and we have the answer, from Seafair spokesperson Emily Cantrell: The Blue Angels are expected to arrive in Seattle on Monday (August 1st) afternoon, around 1 pm, but she warns that could change – a bit earlier, a bit later. It’s been an unusual season for the Blue Angels overall, with the team’s first fatal crash in nine years killing U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jeff Kuss during a practice flight for a Tennessee airshow almost two months ago. The demonstration team resumed its 2016 schedule a month later, flying with a modified five-jet routine.
This week, they’re in Anchorage for Arctic Thunder 2016, the Blue Angels’ first appearance at that airshow in six years. Next week, after their expected Monday arrival, you’ll see them in the sky around town for scouting and media flights, and then Thursday (August 4th) through Sunday (August 7th) are the big days. While they’re here, they’re based by the Museum of Flight toward the south side of Boeing Field, and that’s where you can watch them take off and land (in our opinion, a don’t-miss, unless you’re in the Blue Angels-disliking camp); the MoF is planning a bigger-than-ever festival in conjunction with the visit. More as this all gets closer.
Just announced by Seafair: U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet #7 will visit Seattle tomorrow for a planning meeting looking ahead to next summer’s air show. It’s expected at nearby Boeing Field around 11:30 am, with two pilots, #7 Lt. Tyler Davies and #8 Capt. Corrie Mays. Dates for this year’s airshow, by the way, are August 5-7.
That’s the truest West Seattle Blue Angels view we’ve seen this time around – Steve Jensen shared it with us on Sunday but took it from Columbia Center downtown on Friday. The blue sky was obscured for much of Sunday – bringing JayDee‘s silhouette view of the F-22 Raptor and Air Force Heritage P-51 Mustang:
David Hutchinson got another view of the same two, from the northwest corner of Boeing Field:
He also shared this view of the Blues:
If you’re hoping to watch them fly out – we don’t yet have official information on when they’re leaving; will report it if and when we get it. Meantime … the weekend closed with an intense sunset through smoke from the forest fires around the region:
Thanks to Lynn Hall for the image.
Views from a midsummer Saturday …
FIRST SUNSET OF AUGUST: Thanks to Greg for the photo from the Weather Watch Park vicinity. Lots of smoke in the air from another round of regional forest/brush fires.
Different kind of smoke in the eastern sky earlier:
BLUE ANGELS’ SATURDAY SHOW: Thanks to Liz Virnig for the photo above, a northeast view of the Blue Angels from West Seattle. On the other side of that view, looking back this way, Alki photographer David Hutchinson watched them from Queen Anne’s Kerry Park:
And for a closer look, Doug Branch shares the next photo:
Tomorrow is the final show of Seafair – the timing should be close to today, 1:35 pm takeoff (we watched from outside the Museum of Flight) and 2:25 pm landing. (Official schedule here.) Here’s our short Instagram video clip (mouse over to show the “play” button) from just after they fired up the engines before taxiing to the runway:
Second night in a row, everything’s coming up Blue …
Chris Frankovich shares tonight’s moonrise, still the “Blue Moon” … (Added) Mike Jensen‘s view includes a state ferry (at Vigor) in the foreground:
And from this afternoon’s Seafair airshow practice, Karin shares a Blue Angels flyby:
She was at work on Mercer Island when she took the photo.
Saturday’s Blue Angels (etc.) schedule:
*I-90 bridge closed 11:50-2:40 pm
*Blue Angels go up in the 1:30-ish vicinity (could be earlier, could be later) – watch for support C-130 “Fat Albert“ first; we noticed it making a few passes over West Seattle in the 1:25 pm vicinity today
*Other Seafair airshow acts might be visible from here, especially if you’re looking toward Boeing Field from eastern West Seattle (or watching from along the Boeing Field runway) – here’s the schedule/list
Not that they’re related, but we have photos to share of both. First, courtesy of Neal Chism, tonight’s “blue moon”:
In a separate e-mail conversation, Bob noted that the official “blue moon” full moon is at 3:43 am. We’ve been up late enough to see the moonsets the past few nights and this one’s likely to be spectacular too – 5:01 am, according to the list you can find any time on our West Seattle Weather page. Bob pointed out that the blue moon happens while the Blue Angels are in town:
Long Bach Nguyen shared that view of the Blue Angels’ official Seattle headquarters, just south of the Museum of Flight. We’ve written before about the experience – recommended if you are a Blue Angels fan! – of watching their pre-takeoff preparations from the fence at lower right in the photo, and then watching the takeoff from the Museum’s spot alongside Boeing Field. Today was the two-practice-session day for the U.S. Navy’s demonstration team – we were covering stories outdoors and saw multiple West Seattle flyovers in the 10 am-noon vicinity (as did many West Seattleites!).
(Photo by Robert Spears)
Tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday, they perform over Lake Washington, around 1:30 pm.
(Photo by Ken Iverson)
That means one stretch of I-90 bridge closure each day – 11:50 am to 2:40 pm. If you’re more interested in Navy ships, the fleet that paraded past West Seattle shores on Wednesday (WSB coverage here) is open again for tours tomorrow – full details on the Seafair website.
(ADDED: Photo by David Hutchinson)
12:31 PM: We’re on the shore at Duwamish Head as the Seafair Parade of Ships fleet comes into view to the northwest, passing Bainbridge Island, with the amphibious-assault ship USS Boxer (looks like an aircraft carrier, but isn’t) in the lead. And, as also previewed this morning …
(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
… the Blue Angels have just flown by, after buzzing the Mariners-game crowd at Safeco Field, now en route to a Whidbey Island flyover.
(ADDED: Photo by Robert Spears, post-Safeco, pre-West Seattle)
Still time to get to the Alki/Duwamish Head/etc. shore if you want to watch the ships. More to come.
(ADDED: Photo by Gary Jones)
1 PM: Right on time, the lead ships are making the turn at Alki Point and heading along the north/northwest-facing West Seattle shore.
1:25 PM: USS Boxer is now fully in view from Duwamish Head, with two destroyers to follow, fireboat Leschi ahead of it, and a Coast Guard patrol escort alongside it.
(ADDED: USS Boxer photo by Lynn Hall)
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 29, 2015
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 29, 2015
(ADDED: Photo by Monica Zaborac – USCGC Midgett and HMCS Brandon)
1:48 PM: The parade continues; USS Boxer is now turning northward along the downtown waterfront, right behind the water-spouting fireboat Leschi.
More spectators out here than in years past, on the shore and in the water via kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. If you’ve missed earlier coverage – the ships will dock on the waterfront at Piers 66, 69, and 90, where they’ll be open for tours the next four days.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 29, 2015
HMCS Whitehorse is next, followed by HMCS Brandon.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 29, 2015
2:03 PM: And that’s it – at least from West Seattle, though we can still see the ships on their “official” downtown passes. Thanks to everyone who’s sending photos – we’ll be adding (and substituting) shortly!
(ADDED: Photos by David Hutchinson – CGC Midgett, above, USS Boxer, below)
Two Seafair/U.S. Navy notes:
FLEET ARRIVING, PARADE TOMORROW: Thanks to Lynn Hall for that photo of the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) arriving today in advance of the Seafair Parade of Ships tomorrow and tours Thursday-Sunday. As first previewed here last week, the Dewey is one of seven ships (U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Canadian Navy) you’ll see in the seagoing parade, which should pass West Seattle’s north-facing shores around 1 pm tomorrow.
BLUE ANGELS TECHNICIANS AT SSC ON FRIDAY: Three years ago, we covered a Blue Angels pilot and support-crew member speaking at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Seafair Friday. This year, two technicians from the support team are due at SSC, which says the presentation is open to the public:
Two US Navy Blue Angels technicians will hold an hour-long presentation and audience Q&A at South Seattle College on Friday, July 31, to provide a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes support that goes into Blue Angels performances, including the Seafair shows this weekend.
The presentation occurs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on July 31 in the Olympic Hall Auditorium at South’s West Seattle campus. The free event is open to the public, with limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Petty Officer of the Navy 1st Class Zoltan Prestridge (aviation maintenance control team) and Petty Officer of the Navy 2nd Class Cyrille Sandusky (aviation electrician crew chief) will discuss the background and training that led to their position with the Blue Angels, and what it’s like to ensure the safety of pilots’ planes as they perform aerial stunts.
The Blue Angels’ visit was coordinated by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) Chapter 19, a student club made up of female aeronautical technicians in training at South. Whether training in the Aviation Maintenance Technology or Aerospace Composite Technology programs at the college, the experience will be memorable for South aviation students.
“We share an industry and a passion (with the speakers) … and their experiences are highly educational and motivational for all of us,” AWAM club member Sherry Loeser said.
Olympic Hall is on the south end of the campus (6000 16th SW). The Blue Angels’ practice airshow that day isn’t until 1:40 pm, enabling the technicians to visit in the morning.
That photo is by from John Catalano – the clouds really were that amazing from Jack Block Park, where we watched the U.S. Navy’s demonstration team do its flyby earlier this evening, with a downtown-skyline photo op along the way. Another view from Monica Zaborac:
(We had a similar, though much-less clear, angle in our Twitter photo.) Monica’s closer look at the “delta” formation used for what the Navy said was a photo op:
And if you didn’t hear the roar, here’s a bit of video as they passed over. The pilots’ publicly announced schedule doesn’t include more flying until Wednesday, the day Blue Angel #7, a two-seater, goes up on flights during the day with “influencers” and media (Seafair says this year’s list includes soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Seahawks player Jimmy Graham). Then Thursday and Friday, the whole squad practices, with official airshows Saturday and Sunday.
Another reminder for this Seafair week, with West Seattle specifics:
PARADE OF SHIPS: You might see ships from the Seafair Fleet in Elliott Bay earlier in the week, but the official Parade of Ships – right past West Seattle shores on the way to the downtown waterfront – is on Wednesday afternoon. As previewed here, three U.S. Navy ships, one U.S. Coast Guard ship, and three Canadian Royal Navy ships are expected, and then they’ll be open for tours on the downtown waterfront Thursday-Sunday. Full details of that are here – but remember, on Wednesday, while 1:45 pm is the downtown “parade” time, the ships will be visible here earlier, usually around 1 pm.
P.S. I-90 BRIDGE CLOSURES: Thursday-Sunday, the Blue Angels practices/shows require the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington to shut down for hours at a time. This not only loads up 520, but also tends to cause I-5 backups approaching 90, which in turn affects the eastbound West Seattle Bridge. Memorize the times – we’ll also include them in our morning traffic/transit-watch reports EVERY day this week:
Thursday, July 30 – two separate bridge closures, during which pilots will practice maneuvers and become familiar with area geography – First Closure: 9:45 a.m.-12 p.m., Second Closure: 1:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Fri., July 31- 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (practice show)
Sat., Aug. 1- 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (full show)
Sun., Aug. 2 – 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (full show)
(Blue Angels’ delta formation; 2008 photo by David Hutchinson)
1:12 PM: Update from Seafair and the U.S. Navy: The Blue Angels are expected this evening an hour earlier than announced, and will make multiple downtown flybys, which should be visible from anyplace in West Seattle that you can see the downtown skyline. Just announced:
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, are scheduled to conduct a flyover of downtown Seattle near the Space Needle for a team photo shoot, Sunday, July 26, 2015.
The Blue Angels will fly the squadron’s six-jet F/A-18 Hornet Delta Formation over downtown Seattle from south to north, then north to south at least two times. The jets will fly this formation on the west of the Space Needle, with a seventh jet flying alongside as a photo platform.
The flyover will be visible to the general public. The photo shoot is scheduled to take place at approximately 6:30 p.m. PST.
See our Saturday report for details of the Thursday-Sunday practices, shows, and related I-90 bridge closures.
7:17 PM: They arrived about half an hour ago. We watched the flybys from the Jack Block Park overlook:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 27, 2015
Checking our video now to see if anything came out clearly enough to use; we’re planning a story later tonight looking ahead to Seafair week, including a reminder of Wednesday’s Parade of Ships.
(SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: New arrival information – go here)
(2009 photo by David DeSiga)
With the biggest events of Seafair set for next weekend – the airshow and hydro races – you might be wondering when the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are arriving. We just received word from Seafair that they’re due in around 7:30 pm tomorrow (Sunday) night. According to the Seafair media alert, “The Blue Angels will fly over the west side of the Seattle coastline, passing the Space Needle, before landing at Boeing Field.” As usual, their practices are set for Thursday and Friday, with the official performances next Saturday and Sunday (August 1-2). More to come.
ADDED: The practice/performance/I-90 closure schedule for Thursday-Sunday, and other info, ahead:
(August 2014 photo by JayDee)
Love ’em or not, they’re coming back for at least two more years. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will return to Seafair in 2015 and 2016, they formally announced today at the International Council of Air Shows’ convention in Las Vegas. In case you want to mark your calendars to be sure you’re here or away, depending on your preference, Seafair says the dates will be Friday, July 31, through Sunday, August 2nd, in 2015, and Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, in 2016. Though their official performance venue is “over Lake Washington,” they take off from and land at Boeing Field just east of West Seattle, with the runwayside Museum of Flight as their Seafair base, so they’re often top of mind (and ears) while here.
While the Blue Angels‘ Seafair show – performed one final time today – is staged for viewers in the main festival zone on Lake Washington, you don’t have to go that far to catch glimpses and flybys during the show. On Saturday, JayDee photographed the majestic view above from the same place he caught this one:
Yes, those are the 4th Avenue South Costco gas pumps. The “warehouse” parking lot is a decent viewing zone. Of course, Costco is right in the Boeing Field approach. On the west side of BFI’s runway, you’ll get this view as they take off – quick clip courtesy of Lise Thivierge:
And this view as they land (our short iPhone Instagram clip)
Watching from Boeing Field (parking lot on the west side of the runway, just north of the tower) on Saturday afternoon, we noticed more aircraft than years past, in part at least because of Marine Week. The Blue Angels take off at about 1:30 pm; they’re preceded and followed by other aerial acts – listed here – and if you do watch from Boeing Field, facing east, where you can see many of their maneuvers, especially the really high ones, you can follow along with the kirotv.com live stream via your smartphone (though we noticed a significant delay – seemed like at least 10 seconds, which in TV time is forever). Seafair-wise, today is also the final day for ship tours – schedules/locations here.
P.S. Remember the airshow brings one last I-90 closure – 12:15 pm to 2:40 pm.
Thanks to Doug B. for the video of the Blue Angels‘ takeoff from Boeing Field this afternoon. Their practice performance – in advance of this weekend’s Seafair airshows – is over as of just before 2:30 pm. That means Sea-Tac Airport jet routing is back to normal, too. If you were outdoors during the practice, you might have seen/heard a Blue Angel or two – Fox saw the diamond formation in the distance from Hiawatha and sent this photo:
I-90 will be closed 12:15-2:40 pm each of the next two days – the Blue Angels’ show will be during that window, likely the back hour, but it could start sooner.
ADDED 3:55 PM: Two more views from today!
Thanks to Jim Clark for the photo above, and Chris Clark for the photo below.
Thanks to all!
Even if you haven’t seen them, you’ve probably heard them over the past two hours – today is the day the Blue Angels have two rounds of practice for the upcoming Seafair airshow. Kory Love at Alki Lumber shares the photo of the lumberyard’s flag and a Blue Angel flyby. We also received this link from Kevin Freitas, who photographed the practice from West Seattle. The I-90 bridge is scheduled to reopen again shortly while the Blue Angels take a break, and then close again 1:15 to 2:40 pm for more airshow practice.
If you’ve been reading WSB for more than a few years, you know we recommend the Museum of Flight, alongside Boeing Field, as your base for Blue Angels viewing during Seafair week. That’s where the Navy demonstration team takes off from, lands at, and parks during its Seafair visit. And that’s who recorded the video in our top clip, as the Blue Angels arrived today for the first visit since 2012 (military budget-belt-tightening canceled their season last year). Their major practicing doesn’t start until Thursday, but if you want to go see what they look like parked, the MoF is your place these next few days.
But as noted here over the weekend, they’re not the only sights in the sky, and Gary Jones caught another one (two-in-one) today:
Chinook U.S. Marine Corps helicopters buzzed Alki Point, as Marine Week continues, part of the Seafair events.
Marine Corps aircraft will be on display at the MoF starting Wednesday, continuing through the weekend.
(Kimberly Pena photographed these fire dancers on Alki last night)
Four quick notes for the hours ahead:
BLUE ANGELS REMINDER: Two years after their last Seattle appearance, they’re back, and you’ll likely hear/see their arrival in the 12:30-1 pm vicinity. Here again is our preview published last night, with lots of information (including Wednesday’s parade of Navy/Coast Guard/Canadian ships – and OTHER planes).
BLOOD DRIVE IN GATEWOOD: If you can donate this afternoon/evening, Peace Lutheran Church would love to see you. The mobile blood drive is set for 1-7 pm, and you can just walk up. (39th/Thistle)
SUPPORT GROUP FOR ALZHEIMER’S CAREGIVERS: If you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s/dementia, this free support group is for you. 1:30 pm at Providence Mount St. Vincent. (4831 35th SW)
PENCIL ME IN FOR KIDS DONATION DRIVE: PMIFK collects and buys school supplies to help kids in need, and they need your help NOW to make sure no scholars are supply-less in the next school year. Again from 3-6 pm today, you can donate supplies and/or cash to Rotary Club of West Seattle volunteers at QFC in The Junction; details in our calendar listing. (42nd/Alaska)
Welcome to seattle #7! pic.twitter.com/Gt4m2vEeJD
— Seafair Festival (@SeafairFestival) July 28, 2014
Earlier today, we mentioned military aircraft sightings linked to Marine Week, which is part of Seafair this year. But the big show is yet to come – the return of the Blue Angels. Love them or hate them, you might want to know when they’re coming in, in addition to when they’re practicing and performing. So we’ve just confirmed that six Blue Angels arrive at Boeing Field tomorrow (Monday) by 1 pm. (One arrived unannounced today – see Twitter photo above.) A downtown flyby is expected around 12:30 pm. Wednesday, #7 goes up for demonstration flights with one “influencer” and one media person. Then Thursday (9:45-noon and 1:15-2:40 I-90 bridge closures) and Friday are practices, Saturday-Sunday are the official shows (12:15 pm-2:40 pm I-90 closures the latter 3 days). More as the week goes on. Also:
PARADE OF SHIPS/FLIGHT: We’ve already mentioned this feature returns this year too, and the ships will be visible from West Seattle shores on Wednesday afternoon – you might glimpse the aircraft from here too, though in the past we’ve noticed the flybys were closer to downtown. Here’s the list of participating vessels and aircraft expected along the downtown waterfront around 1:45 (so, obviously, passing West Seattle earlier):
Parade of Ships
Parade of Flight
Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demonstration – MH-54D
(Blue Angels fly over Boeing Field, 2009 photo by David DeSiga)
An announcement by the Navy last Friday was so quiet, they’re shouting it a bit louder today – they’ve figured out how to resume “community outreach” and that means, among other things, that the Blue Angels are back in the air next year, and that some festivals will see Fleet Week ships again, including Seafair here in Seattle.
(USS Bunker Hill passing Alki Point during Seafair 2012; photo by Gary Jones)
Here’s the Navy’s announcement. You’ll recall that this year’s Seafair went without Blue Angels and a visiting fleet because of federal belt-tightening.
(August 2012 Blue Angels view from Alki, photographed by Les Crimmins)
This morning, Seafair says it’s official – no Blue Angels this year, because of federal budget cuts. Here’s the announcement the festival posted minutes ago on Facebook:
Today we were officially informed by the US Navy Blue Angels that their season has been cancelled, including the Seafair performance, due to Federal Budget Cuts resulting from sequestration. The Blue Angels have flown at Seafair for over 40 years and are an important part of our history. The team will be deeply missed by Seattleites, however Seafair will continue in its traditional fashion. The Patriots Jet Team, which we previously announced, will now assume the lead spot in our world-class air show. The six-ship aerobatic team electrifies spectators with fast-paced formation flying, choreographed four-ship diamond formation aerobatic maneuvers and are highlighted by a computerized red, white and blue smoke system. Many of the pilots include past experience with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds and Royal Canadian Air Force.
Seafair just announced that U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet #7 will fly in tomorrow (Wednesday, January 9) for the festival’s winter planning meetings. It’s scheduled to arrive on the east side of Boeing Field around 12:30 pm tomorrow, bringing #7 Lt. Ryan Chamberlain and #8 Lt. Commander Michael Cheng. (If you’re counting the days – this year’s Seafair Air Show is scheduled for August 2nd-4th.)
(August 2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Since their Seafair home, the Museum of Flight, is not far away, we consider the Blue Angels a local story when they’re here – and Seafair says they’ll be back at least two more years:
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels announced the Demonstration Squadron will return to the skies above Lake Washington as a featured performer at the Boeing Air Show at Seafair Weekend in 2013 and 2014. The announcement was made today at the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) convention in Las Vegas, Nev. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels make two-year performance commitments and previously announced their return to Seattle for 2013.
The air show is part of the eight-week summer schedule of events that culminates with Seafair Weekend featuring the Boeing Air Show and the Albert Lee Cup Hydroplane Races.
Seafair Weekend Dates
2013: Fri. Aug. 2 – Sun., Aug 4
2014: Fri., Aug. 1 – Sun., Aug. 3 – The 65th Anniversary of Seafair