AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Seafair Parade of Ships, visible from West Seattle shores, after Blue Angels flyby

July 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

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 …

… 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.

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.




1:48 PM: The parade continues; USS Boxer is now turning northward along the downtown waterfront, right behind the water-spouting fireboat Leschi. (The photo tweets above are the easiest way for us to add images live; we’ll substitute photos when back at HQ.) 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.


HMCS Whitehorse is next, followed by HMCS Brandon.

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!

Seafair in West Seattle: Fleet arrival before parade tomorrow; Blue Angels technicians @ South Seattle College on Friday

July 28, 2015 at 1:53 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

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.

Blue Angels arrive, Parade of Ships off West Seattle on Wednesday: It’s Seafair’s big week

July 26, 2015 at 10:46 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

Even if you missed our alerts earlier in the weekend (here and here), you might have heard, if not seen, the Blue Angels‘ flybys tonight:

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’ Seattle arrival update: Earlier time; multiple flybys

July 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

davidflyby.jpg

(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:


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.

More Seafair news: Blue Angels set to arrive Sunday night

July 25, 2015 at 2:20 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(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:

Click to read the rest of More Seafair news: Blue Angels set to arrive Sunday night…

Blue Angels’ official announcement: Back for 2 more years

December 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(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.

One more time: Blue Angels’ Seafair 2014 finale this afternoon

August 3, 2014 at 3:49 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

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.

Video: Blue Angels’ Friday practice for Seafair airshows

August 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

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!

Blue Angels over West Seattle during Seafair airshow practice

July 31, 2014 at 11:44 am | In Blue Angels, Seen around town, West Seattle news | 38 Comments

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.

Video: Blue Angels return, and more sights in the sky

July 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

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:

Two 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.

4 notes for the rest of your West Seattle Monday: Blue Angels; blood drive; caregivers’ group; Pencil Me In For Kids

July 28, 2014 at 11:10 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | Comments Off

(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)

More Seafair air-and-sea details: Blue Angels in Seattle tomorrow, Parade of Ships (and aircraft) Wednesday

July 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

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
USS Essex
USS Chancellorsville
USS Howard
CGC Mellon
HMCS Edmonton
HMCS Brandon

Parade of Flight
MV-22B
AH-1Z
UH-1Y
CH-53E
CH-46E
Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demonstration – MH-54D

Navy says Blue Angels, ‘Fleet Week’ ships returning to Seattle in 2014

October 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

(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.

Seafair says it’s official: No Blue Angels in Seattle this year

April 9, 2013 at 7:52 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 110 Comments

(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.

Click to read the rest of Seafair says it’s official: No Blue Angels in Seattle this year…

Early alert: U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet over Seattle tomorrow

January 8, 2013 at 11:13 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

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.)

Never a sure thing, but … Blue Angels back for 2013, 2014

December 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(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

Seafair Saturday update: Watching the Blue Angels, again!

August 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

(Photo by Les Crimmins, added Saturday evening)
1:47 PM: We are at Lake Washington today, and the Blue Angels’ performance has just begun. We’ll update when it’s over.

2:29 PM: Show’s over for today. Photos later!

ADDED SATURDAY NIGHT: Photos! Thanks to Les for the top view, from West Seattle. Next, Alki photographer David Hutchinson caught the Blues as seen over the earlier-generation Blue Angels Skyhawk jet in the Museum of Flight parking lot:

The next five are from WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams:

Listening to the narrative at the lake, we were reminded that these maneuvers are called “breaks”:

Gotta love “Fat Albert”:

In the background, the Cascades:

And another high-speed pass:

One more show to go – Sunday, same time, 1:30-ish takeoff.

Seafair update: Blue Angels’ Friday show, in the bluest of skies

August 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
1:37 PM: As of 1:35 pm, the Blue Angels are finally in the air – a jet similar to theirs, an FA-18 Super Hornet, performed in the Seafair airshow at 1 pm, so if you thought you heard them earlier, that’s what it was. Updates to come.

2:25 PM UPDATE: They landed a few minutes ago. Great viewing today from Boeing Field – the full “high show,” which includes more than a few maneuvers you can see from this side of the ridge.

(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
(Added) Here’s video of the takeoff view, from the mid-crowd perspective)

The shows tomorrow and Sunday should be around the same time – 1:30-ish takeoff. Almost anyplace you plan to view, though, get there early. Even here in the parking lot, most spaces were full by 12:30 pm.

Video: Blue Angels pilot, crew member visit South Seattle Community College

August 3, 2012 at 10:41 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 10 Comments

What do the Blue Angels do before their afternoon airshows on Seafair Weekend? Here’s one answer: Community visits for Q/A and military-recruiting outreach (which after all is the team’s stated purpose). This morning, South Seattle Community College got a visit from the officer who flies Blue Angels jet #3 this year, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Brandon Cordill, and an airframer from the enlisted support team, Sgt. Doug Green. Among the college delegation there to greet and hear from them, in a presentation that was open only to students and staff, was SSCC math teacher Heidi Lyman, who flew a ridealong during Seafair Week last year:

Cockpit video of Lyman’s flight was shown during this morning’s presentation. That’s part of the video we’re adding shortly – including Capt. Cordill’s humorous-at-times story of how he got to be a Blue Angel, as well as Sgt. Green’s story, potential inspiration for the aviation students at SSCC.

ADDED 11:20 AM: Capt. Cordill’s recounting of how he went from a not-exceptional high-school student (“I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life”) with a low SAT school, to elite Blue Angels aviator inspired by 9/11 to join the military:

Capt. Cordill, by the way, is one of two Marine Corps pilots flying the Blue Angels demonstrations this year, which is rare – they usually have one. (Plus the team that flies the support C-130 “Fat Albert” is USMC, too.) Meantime, here’s the video of Heidi Lyman’s 2011 flight, as shown today:

We’ll add video of Sgt. Green’s story and the Q/A later this afternoon – heading out to Boeing Field now to see the Blue Angels take off. (Capt. Cordill says takeoff is scheduled for 1:30 pm, just in case you were wondering.)

West Seattle Friday: Blue Angels, ballots, indoor/outdoor music & theater …

August 3, 2012 at 8:34 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Seafair weekend means more Blue Angels (and hydros and ship tours) in the city today – and much more you can check out without even leaving West Seattle tonight, including outdoor music and indoor theater. All that and a few more news notes:

TRAFFIC ADVISORIES: From the day-by-day/night-by-night closure list here: I-90 is closed for the Blue Angels’ practice show 12:45 pm-2:40 pm. Tonight, the Spokane Street Viaduct is closed EASTBOUND east of the 1st Avenue South exit, 10 pm, continuing till 5 tomorrow morning.

WASTE MANAGEMENT STRIKE AFTERMATH: No “recovery” pickups are scheduled in our area today, according to WM (but watch for possible word of some in the days ahead); those who have Friday pickup are asked to have everything out today, including extra for what was missed. And the city says it’ll be free to drop off up to six bags of trash/yard waste at transfer stations through Sunday (recycling is always free).

BALLOT DROPOFF VAN: Look for it in the southwest corner of the West Seattle Stadium parking lot, 10 am-5 pm today (and tomorrow and Monday, as well as 7 am-8 pm Tuesday), if you’d like to drop off your ballot for Tuesday’s primary election rather than pay for postage.

SEAFAIR – BLUE ANGELS, NAVY SHIP TOURS, HYDROS: All the schedule info is linked in our preview from last night, and we’ll be covering events throughout the day. (Toplines: The Blue Angels go up for one “practice show” today, with takeoff scheduled from Boeing Field (we say it all the time – go watch from the Museum of Flight, which has special programs throughout the weekend too!) after 1 pm. But there’s a full schedule of hydro testing and other aerial demonstrations today. And along the Seattle waterfront from Pier 46 in the south to Pier 90 in the north, you can tour any of the three ships that sailed past West Seattle on Wednesday.

SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT THE MOUNT: First of four free Friday night concerts! Elvis stylist Danny Vernon performs tonight at 6. Dinner and drinks are available for purchase starting at 5:30. Just bring your chair/blanket to the south side of The Mount (4831 35th SW).

THE REPTILE MAN @ ALKI CC: You never know what will happen – or who will appear – at one of his shows, and tonight, he’s in West Seattle to amaze an all-ages crowd at Alki Community Center (5817 SW Stevens). 6:15 pm; details here.

SECOND ‘CORNER BAR’ AT HPIC: The Highland Park Improvement Club‘s new once-a-month incarnation happens at 6:30 tonight for the second time:

Draft beer, wine and non-alcoholic refreshments will be available at our pop-up neighborhood bar. A casual and friendly way to meet new friends and hang out with people you know. $3 gets you a beer or glass of wine, $1 for non-alcoholic beverages. We will have snacks like peanuts and pretzels – if you want more, bring your own or something to share. Special this month: Sangria. Also special: live music from the Drew Medak Trio. Classic jazz standards, fusion, modern jazz and originals on piano, bass and drums. Free admission – donations for the musicians accepted!

FREE SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK: The Bard among the trees! GreenStage‘s “Henry VIII” is at Lincoln Park tonight, 7 pm.

OPENING NIGHT FOR ‘ANYTHING GOES’: Twelfth Night Productions (WSB sponsor) presents its summer production at West Seattle High School Theater (3000 California SW), Cole Porter‘s classic musical, 7:30 pm tonight and tomorrow, then running Fridays-Sundays the next two weekends. Tickets are available online; also, bring a nonperishable-food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank!

‘SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE JR.’ CONTINUES: Tonight at 7:30 pm at ArtsWest (4711 California SW).

FERRIS WHEEL’S LIGHT SHOW: If you want to see the Seattle Great Wheel‘s flashy colored lights (first shown here when they were tested in June), you have another chance each remaining night of Seafair, at 10 pm.

Even more on the calendar!

Seafair Weekend eve: Blue Angels today; the schedule ahead

August 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Some West Seattleites saw them … some just heard them … no mistaking the sounds and sights of the Blue Angels practicing for Seafair Weekend today. Doug B (a frequent Flickr contributor, including the WSB group pool) shared a few of his photos – including this low pass over Lake Washington:

If tomorrow is like most Seafair Fridays, they will go up after 1 pm (leaving Boeing Field, where Museum of Flight viewing of the takeoff/landing is a don’t-miss experience too) to go through the same show they will officially perform on Saturday and Sunday.

You can see the full airshow and hydroplane schedule for all three days of Seafair Weekend by going here. (Remember that you can watch from Seafair HQ on Lake Washington for free tomorrow, but Saturday and Sunday, admission is charged.) Tours of the visiting U.S. Navy ships are scheduled to continue all three days too – that schedule is here. (Tip – if you’re going to visit the USS Bunker Hill, the West Seattle Water Taxi dock is a short walk away.)

P.S. The scheduled I-90 bridge closure times are the same each of the next three days – 12:45-2:40 pm.

Video: Blue Angels have arrived for Seafair 2012!

July 31, 2012 at 11:09 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

11:09 AM: Just touching down now at Boeing Field, after a flyby. More shortly.

11:28 AM: Our Blue Angels flyby video is up, shot from the parking lot north of the Boeing Field tower starting as soon as one of the handful of others watching from here shouted “OVER THERE!” They subsequently landed and taxied two by two to the Museum of Flight, where a ceremonial Seafair welcome awaited. Their official practicing doesn’t start until Thursday morning; we always recommend coming to the MoF at least once during Seafair weekend to watch the takeoff – optimal for the full practice show Friday afternoon, or the official performances Saturday and Sunday. The MoF itself offers special events Friday-Sunday (read about them here) and it’s not far from West Seattle – take the 1st Avenue South Bridge north to the Michigan exit, turn right on East Marginal, head south past Boeing Field to the museum. Our other favorite Seafair Blue Angels-viewing tip is to go to Lake Washington on Friday, when admission is free, to see both the airshow and the early hydroplane action.

2:15 PM P.S. – Some of the Seafair Navy fleet ships are coming in this afternoon too, prior to tomorrow’s official “Parade of Ships/Flight” starting in the 1 pm hour. We’ll have a separate story with photos a bit later.

Highway closures ahead: 5 southbound 99 closures EVERY week till fall; northbound closure ahead too; plus, Blue Angels dates

July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 1 Comment

Just in case you weren’t clear from yesterday’s WSDOT announcement, we doublechecked today – the Sunday-through-Thursday-night overnight closures of the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct/99 stretch between downtown and the West Seattle Bridge are planned EVERY week from now till fall weather arrives.

Also just announced, in this week’s edition of the Construction Lookahead update, there will be a weekend NORTHBOUND closure at the end of this month (this time frame includes the Seafair Torchlight Run closure):

July 28-30, northbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed between the West Seattle Bridge and S Royal Brougham Way on-ramp from 5:30 PM Saturday through 5 AM Monday. The northbound lanes will be open north of Royal Brougham after the completion of the Torchlight Run the evening of July 28th.

And if you’re planning even further ahead, the Construction Lookahead also includes the I-90 bridge closure times/dates for Blue Angels practices and airshows in early August: Thursday, August 2, 9:45 am to noon AND 1:15-2:30 pm, plus Friday-Sunday, August 3rd-5th, 12:45 pm-2:40 pm each day.

P.S. A few minutes after we published this, SDOT came out with its list of what’s ahead for next week for the Spokane Street Viaduct. As previously mentioned, NO full closures, in either direction, but some overnight lane closures are in store – read on: Click to read the rest of Highway closures ahead: 5 southbound 99 closures EVERY week till fall; northbound closure ahead too; plus, Blue Angels dates…

Heads up: Blue Angels jet arriving at Boeing Field tomorrow

January 3, 2012 at 10:11 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

A West Seattle fan of the Blue Angels just asked us the other day if one of the jets would be here again this year for the Seafair winter planning meetings – and indeed, word just arrived, Blue Angels jet #7 is expected around 1:15 tomorrow afternoon at Boeing Field, with an 11 am Thursday departure planned. Seafair says Blue Angels #7 Lieutenant Mark Tedrow and #8 Lieutenant Todd Royles will be on board. This year’s airshow is set for August 3rd-5th. (Our coverage of last year’s winter visit is here.)

Seafair says the Blue Angels will be back at least two more years

December 5, 2011 at 10:51 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 27 Comments

(August 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can see/hear them from here – and they’re not going away. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are coming back to Seafair for at least two more summers. Just announced: Click to read the rest of Seafair says the Blue Angels will be back at least two more years…

Seafair Sunday: Blue Angels fly, but without ‘Fat Albert’

August 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

After that Museum of Flight flyby, the Blue Angels landed at Boeing Field about 15 minutes ago, concluding their Seafair 2011 performances. No “Fat Albert” today, though – the C-130 always goes up before the six F/A-18′s, but that didn’t happen today because of what official Seafair station KIRO reported via Twitter was a “maintenance issue.” (Good thing WSB’s Christopher Boffoli chose Saturday for his flight – see his story here with video and photos, if you haven’t already.) We watched today’s pre-takeoff events from the fence facing the six jets’ parking area – a closer view than the media zone:

For our fellow aviation fans, we’ll be in touch with Seafair to find out when they’re flying out; next weekend, they’re scheduled to perform in Fargo, North Dakota.

ADDED: Seafair says they’re expected to leave Tuesday morning, but will doublecheck the time on Monday. Meantime, one more great photo, from David Hutchinson:

As he captioned it … “show’s over.”

Video/photos: Go sky-high with the Blue Angels’ ‘Fat Albert’

August 7, 2011 at 2:26 am | In Blue Angels, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

(Watch for the view of West Seattle – and the SBX – through the open cargo door!)
Story, photos, and video by Christopher Boffoli
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

At the age of 10, I was delighted to be just tall enough to ride the infamous Rebel Yell roller coaster at Kings Dominion in Virginia. A big part of the victory was that my super-competitive but shorter younger brother wasn’t. He had to cool his jets with the parents while I happily went through the turnstile to ride with my pretty teenage cousin.

However, the victory of my foray into big-kid territory was short-lived once we were strapped in and began to ascend the coaster’s towering first hill. With the ominous sound of clicking, we lurched ever closer to the top – and the inevitable drop on the other side. It was one of the first times I remember experiencing what it was like to suffer the consequences of a choice (not to mention to know how it felt to set a land-speed record for regret).

Of course I immediately jumped at the chance to fly aboard the Blue Angels’ C-130 support aircraft that they call “Fat Albert.”

But it wasn’t until after I enthusiastically said “yes” that I did a bit of research on what the flight would entail. Compared with the Blue Angels’ famous sleek F/A-18 Hornets, the 150,000-pound Fat Albert looked like a chunky, lumbering cargo plane.

I hadn’t seen it fly before but figured it might do a few low passes, wave its wings around, and we’d be back on terra firma for a photo op. I figured wrong. With an exhilarating, stomach-churning flight, I was reminded again of just how deceiving looks can be.

Click to read the rest of Video/photos: Go sky-high with the Blue Angels’ ‘Fat Albert’…

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