Blue Angels’ Seafair ’08 finale today (and scenes from Saturday)


Usually David Hutchinson contributes great Alki-area photographs – this time, he sent shots from the east side of Boeing Field, where he captured the Blue Angels post-show, pre-landing flyby (which we usually see from the Museum of Flight at the other side of Boeing Field) as shown above, and on the runway, as seen here:


(#6 is the one that, as we reported yesterday, came back a few minutes after takeoff, with a mechanical/operational problem requiring its pilot to switch to a backup plane.) As David pointed out in his e-mail to WSB, that view is as close as you can get to the planes on the runway. But if you want to see the pilots up close and personal, you have to be at the Museum of Flight’s far-south fence – right next to where the jets are headquartered during their Seattle visits – and even though you have to watch through a chain-link fence, it’s a front-row seat to the “walkdown.” Standing in front of Blue Angel #1, we caught the first part on video Saturday (listen very closely to hear the commands):

There’s one other element to the pageantry – watching the crew. A video clip of that, plus a few more Saturday photos, just ahead:

Looking at some other video we shot while observing from the fence, pre-takeoff, we realized there’s a whole lot of waiting … we spectators are watching the crew members seemingly in a holding pattern without being able to see the intricacies of what’s happening inside the cockpit as the pilots prepare to taxi toward the runway. But there are routines that are fun to watch, like the hand-signaling as systems are tested (watch the crew members further back, at left, as well as the one in the foreground; note this was just #1, same thing was repeated, synchronized, in front of the other five jets):

The family standing to our left was talking with their young daughter about something we have noted in recent years, the presence of women in the frontline crew. The Blue Angels have never had a female demonstration pilot; the Air Force Thunderbirds have had two – and in fact, after we originally published this post, Andrew Abernathy sent this photo of the one who’s flying with the Thunderbirds now, Maj. Samantha Weeks, seen during the recent McChord AFB airshow:


Back to the Blue Angels this weekend — here’s a closer look at the female crew member who was attending to Blue Angel #1 (we won’t try to match her identity with the online profiles; did that in ’06 and recently received a genial comment from a different BA female crew member noting we guessed wrong):


Here’s another woman, with her colleague after the jets landed, waiting to direct theirs back to its spot:


Just a few minutes after the Blue Angels landed, the pilots came out to the fence to sign autographs, right after a white-uniformed Navy man handed out the glossy souvenir brochures you see in the photo’s foreground:


They worked the fence west to east. We’re not much for autographs so we took our leave, turning around for one last snapshot of the fence crowd:


Here by the way is what it looks like pre-takeoff … we shot the same angle last year (holding our little camera over our head) but couldn’t resist again:


If you’re thinking about checking this out today, here are a few other notes:
-The maintenance crew didn’t appear till 1 pm, the pilots themselves till after 1:15; the I-90 bridge closure 12:45 pm-2:40 pm is a wide window just to cover all possibilities.
-Unless you’re arriving at the Museum of Flight extremely early (say, before 11 am), you’ll wind up parking in the Boeing overflow lot across the street to the west (don’t worry, it’s free).
-If you get hungry but you’re not going into the MoF, there’s a little stand on the south side of its lawn with hot dogs for $3 and chips for $1 (beverages too but we didn’t note the price).

Our other Blue Angels coverage is archived here.

16 Replies to "Blue Angels' Seafair '08 finale today (and scenes from Saturday)"

  • austin August 3, 2008 (8:32 am)

    That fireworks show was incredible! The fireworks airplane was sooo cool, I’ve never seen anything like that, and then the normal fireworks seemed to go on forever.

  • Kathy August 3, 2008 (8:32 am)

    Thanks, WSB, for the coverage of this angle of the Blue Angels! I was in the Costco parking lot and saw the one plane fly back toward Boeing field, so it’s interesting to find out what happened. I spent 3 years living in military housing at the end of a runway of a US air base in Germany. Still have a bug about watching airplanes!!

  • Jeremiah August 3, 2008 (9:53 am)

    Yep. I bet the people in Iraq love hearing these planes day in and day out too.
    I may be in the minority here, but isn’t it a little preposterous to be wasting all this fuel while were in a fuel crisis?

  • lina August 3, 2008 (12:13 pm)

    i aggree with jeremiah. not only does it feel like a tremendous waste of fuel but it also feels horribly innapropriate in a time of war to have planes ceremoniously swooping through major urban centers (especially after witnessing planes crashing into the world trade center) when there are families in other countries running to hide from swooping planes. there are times where i wish that i could get onto the blue angels bandwagon but every time they come to town, my dogs are cowering from the noise, the traffic is rediculous, and i can’t get the horrifing image of planes going into buildings out of my head. maybe i am being extreme, i recognize that i am probably a little biased but i end up feeling totally unerved the whole time that they (blue angels) are in town.
    no doubt that they pilots are incredibly talented and the plane are a cool site to see but nevertheless, i feel that thier presence here are the ‘rah rah military’ feel is intimidating and innapropriote this day and age.
    sorry to be a party pooper.

  • M August 3, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    what lina said.

  • BobLoblaw August 3, 2008 (12:56 pm)


  • Pedro August 3, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    Yeah, we should also stop traveling by plane because OMG people in other countries are hiding from planes trying to bomb them right now, so PLANES ARE BAD!


    An airshow is a spectacle of engineering, not of war. Quit your whining.

    Next thing you know you’ll want to remove archery from the Olympics because of all those people that have been killed by arrows in war. Gimme a break!

  • Andrew August 3, 2008 (6:14 pm)

    While I have sympathy for the earlier comments about saving fuel and avoiding military jingoism, I personally feel that we should be able to experience some of the wonder of these amazing craft and their skilled crew and support staff that we, as taxpayers, are paying for. I don’t think that doing so endorses war or destruction. I do think we should be putting effort into saving energy in general, but I think that’s a broader effort, and cutting out occasional events that are so widely shared and appreciated is far down the list. I also feel sympathy for those inconvenienced by the event, but I’m far more frequently inconvenienced by traffic and crowds for football and baseball games and other events which I don’t much enjoy; yet I appreciate that other people do greatly enjoy these events, and I understand that I’m sometimes going to be inconvenienced so that others can have fun.

  • Andrew August 3, 2008 (6:52 pm)

    P.S. Great photo by David Hutchinson, and thanks for the Blue Angels updates!

  • T August 3, 2008 (8:02 pm)

    I can also understand the fuel part, but I find value in the mission of the Blue Angels: to enhance the recruitment efforts and to represent the naval services to the United States. The pilots and crew take great pride in what they do and they are the “pinnacle of precision flying”. The inconvenience is once a year and is minimal compared to traffic jams from accidents and other city events- it’s just part of living in an urban area.
    Go Blue Angels!

  • Jill August 3, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    As much as I hate the rest of Seafair, and as much as I hate to admit it, I really look forward to the Blue Angels’ practice days (haven’t actually ever attended their show). I know not everyone has to like them, but I think it’s a bit unfair to equate them with war and 9/11. I’ll stop there, because Andrew expressed things much better than I ever could, thanks, Andrew.

  • HP August 3, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    In reference to the WTC tragedy, we can not let these sick sadistic murderers change seattle tradition and pride in our extremely talented naval pilots skills and ability, this show is one of those things that makes summer in seattle so wonderful. I wish I worked in georgetown so I could hear and see them all day everyday they are here. I personally dont understand the negative reaction to these guys, I have nothing but huge respect and admiration for these pilots and their amazing talent.

  • HP August 3, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    and ditto what andrew said

  • Sally August 4, 2008 (11:28 am)

    The government wastes so much money on truly nonessential things, like the war in Iraq, that these whiners complaining about the fuel for the Angels are ridiculous. Let’s at least enjoy one thing that’s beautiful and awe-inspiring out of the boondoggle that is our current government’s spending policy. I suppose because one person got killed by a car that we should ban all cars, because one person got killed by a dog we should ban all dogs, because one person died from bee stings we should ban all bees, because someone has drowned in the ocean we should ban all oceans……give me a break! Here’s a thought: People kill other people, so maybe we should just ban all people, human beings, outright?! Now there’s a solution……lol If you hate the Blues so much, then leave town for four days. You sound like you need a vacation anyway.

  • Mike August 4, 2008 (9:34 pm)

    As Aristotle said, spectacle is the lowest form of human expression, appealing to the smallest minds.

  • WSB August 4, 2008 (9:46 pm)

    And should those with not-so-small minds (pardon me for flattering myself but I’ll do it anyway) be unable to appreciate spectacle????

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