West Seattle, Washington
The Blue Angels‘ final 2023 performance in Seattle is over as of three-plus hours ago. We have reader photos to share – above, Monica Zaborac‘s classic view of their downtown flyby, from West Seattle; below, Erin Szekely sent a view from Seacrest:
From Christie B., some of the people who gathered at the Jack Block Park overlook to watch:
West Seattle photographer Jerry Simmons went to the show’s intended viewing area on the east side, and describes this image as a “vapor cone” around the jet, resulting from higher humidity:
Three West Seattle scenes from August’s first Friday:
Above, James Bratsanos captured the colors of tonight’s sunset. … Below is Steve Pumphrey‘s photo of salmon seekers lined up along the north side of Point Williams at Lincoln Park:
And below, an image from today’s Blue Angels flight – Rainer Klett photographed a Space Needle flyby from Alki:
Saturday’s forecast has some clouds – maybe even a chance of an afternoon shower.
(Photo by Jamie Kinney, from Blue Angels’ Seattle arrival on Wednesday)
12:26 PM: Particularly if you’re in south West Seattle, you’ve likely noticed the increase in air traffic the past hour and a half or so. No, it’s not just the Blue Angels, but it’s because of them – route changes for Sea-Tac takeoffs. Today is the longest practice day for the Blue Angels, so this will be happening through 3 pm or so. (And for those who have asked, no, the practices do NOT require I-90 bridge closures any more, so this isn’t affecting traffic on the ground.) The full Seafair airshow, with other visiting aircraft, happens Friday-Sunday – schedule here.
ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: A closer look from Alki photographer David Hutchinson, in a popular viewing spot – the Costco parking lot:
Thanks to David Hutchinson for the photo above – he sent it just before 2 pm, noting, “Just watched the Blue Angels circle out over Puget Sound and fly past Alki Beach on their way back toward town.” About an hour before the U.S. Navy demonstration team’s fighter jets arrived, their support plane Fat Albert touched down – Jamie Kinney sent this from Boeing Field:
This is the first time that Blue Angels’ history-making #3 pilot Lt. Amanda Lee, will be flying over Seattle. The Blue Angels go up for practice tomorrow, then airshows Friday-Sunday – the schedule is on the Seafair website.
ADDED: One more view from Jamie Kinney at Boeing Field, as #1-#6 arrived:
The major Seafair events are about to begin – and we have West Seattle notes on 3 of them:
MISS HOMESTREET IN WEST SEATTLE: On its way to the Tri-Cities races this weekend and the Seafair races next weekend, the Miss HomeStreet hydroplane was parked outside HomeStreet Bank-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) tonight. Above are Sharon, Bob, and Joyce from HomeStreet, and Bryan from the Miss HomeStreet crew. The hydro also was in last Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade.
SPEAKING OF PARADES … The Seafair Fleet Week Parade of Ships sails past West Seattle’s Elliott Bay shoreline on its way downtown, and that’s happening next Tuesday (August 1st). The ships are due downtown around 1 pm, which means they should be passing West Seattle around noon. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet but it will include a U.S. Navy destroyer as well as U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships; the participant ships then will be open for tours later in the week.
BLUE ANGELS: The U.S. Navy’s demonstration team is back for the Seafair airshow this year, and they’re scheduled to arrive at Boeing Field around 1:30 pm Wednesday (August 2nd). We’re checking on whether one of the non-performing jets is scheduled to be here earlier in the week as is usually the case. The full Seafair airshow lineup and schedule for next Friday-Sunday (August 4-6) is here; the Blue Angels usually go up for practice flights on Thursday too.
Just got a reader text about what appeared to be a sighting of Blue Angels jet #7, seen from the West Seattle Bridge. Indeed, subsequent checking reveals that #7 was due in this afternoon at Boeing Field for the Seafair winter meetings. The Museum of Flight just tweeted arrival video. This year’s Seafair airshow will be August 4-6; for the first time, this year’s team of demonstration-jet pilots includes a woman, U.S. Navy Lt. Amanda Lee.
That’s the Blue Angels’ support plane “Fat Albert,” which David Hutchinson also photographed:
Again watching from Ruby Chow Park at the north end of Boeing Field, David also caught this formation:
And a closeup:
(added) Thanks to Vicky Piston for this view:
Jerry Simmons watched from Seward Park and sent this photo of one of the other, shall we say, loud planes in the airshow:
SUNDAY SCHEDULE: From the Seafair website:
10:35 – Aerobatic Performance
12:00 – Golden Knights Performance
12:35 – Aerobatic Performance
13:10 – F35 Lightning II Performance
13:40 – EA 18G Growler Performance
14:45 – Aerobatic Performance
14:45 – Boeing Seafair Flyover
15:05 – Blue Angels Performance
They’re all meant for optimal viewing by admission-paying Seafair attendees on Lake Washington, but some of the airshow performers – including the Blue Angels – take off from Boeing Field, and in addition to experiencing the roaring takeoff by the airport, you can also see some of the highest maneuvers from here (we watched from Westcrest Park, with binoculars, on Friday afternoon).
Thanks to David Hutchinson for photos of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in flight this afternoon. He photographed them from Ruby Chow Park at the north end of Boeing Field (across the Duwamish River from West Seattle).
Without time to leave West Seattle, we checked out the view from Westcrest Park. From the northeast side of the park’s plateau, along SW Cloverdale, you can glimpse Boeing Field, so, with binoculars, we had a decent, if partial view, including the smoke bursts before takeoff and during their landing pass.
The schedule had them up 3:05-4 pm today, tomorrow, and Friday; today was fairly close to that, with takeoff around 3:10 pm and landing around 3:55. If you are interested in seeing them this weekend without going to Lake Washington (where the full airshow, including other aerial acts, you can also check out the Museum of Flight‘s Jet Blast Bash; though the bigger new Blue Angels jets an’t park next to the MoF any more, museum visitors get a runwayside view of the takeoffs/landings and pilot meet-and-greets after they land.
— Kevin Freitas (@kevinfreitas) August 3, 2022
1:10 PM: Thanks to Kevin for the photo (and Gill for the tip by phone) – the Blue Angels are back in Seattle. A few reminders: They’re based at Boeing Field but near the terminal, NOT in the publicly viewable areas of years past, because of the bigger new jets and the equipment required for them … They’ll be practicing Thursday (added: times)
Thursday, August 4
11:00 AM – #1-4 Practice Flight
12:00 PM – #5-6 Practice Flight
2:20 PM – #1-6 Practice Flight
3:20 PM – Fat Albert Practice Flight
And they’ll be flying their performance routine Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3:05 pm is the scheduled time those three days) … no freeway closures but you’ll likely notice different air-traffic patterns over West Seattle when they’re flying … the Museum of Flight has a special (admission required) Jet Blast Bash event (with pilot-autograph sessions promised) all weekend.
They’re here! pic.twitter.com/4Xr9oKarVF
— The Museum of Flight (@museumofflight) August 3, 2022
ADDED 2:53 PM: Thanks to Monica Zaborac for sending these photos:
(That middle photo is “Fat Albert,” the Blue Angels’ support plane.)
ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: You probably know by now that the U.S.Navy’s Blue Angels are performing at Seafair this Friday-Sunday, and practicing Thursday. Since they’re based at nearby Boeing Field during their Seafair visits, their arrival is also a matter of West Seattle interest, and we’ve received a few questions about the arrival schedule.
During their last visit in 2019, they came here directly after the previous weekend’s air-show appearance in Colorado. This past weekend, they were at an airshow in Dayton, Ohio, but instead of heading here, they went back to their home base in Pensacola, Florida, last night. So when do the Blue Angels get here? According to Ted Huetter of the Museum of Flight, which hosts a big weekend Jet Blast Bash centered on their visit: The #7 advance plane arrives
sometime 12:30 pm Tuesday (and will be providing “influencer rides” – like the ones that result in the TV “what it’s like to fly with a Blue Angel” stories every year – starting Wednesday morning). The other six are due in around 1:30 pm Wednesday. Times are always subject to change. One note: Instead of parking at the Museum of Flight, this year the Blue Angels’ jets will be by the Boeing Field terminal. As the MoF notes on this page, you can watch the takeoffs from their parking lot Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday the MoF lot will be an admission-only zone as part of Jet Blast Bash.
P.S. In case you’ve wondered about this, no, I-90 will NOT be closing for Blue Angels flights/practices. Starting in 2019, they made changes to avoid having to do that.
TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Seafair says the other 6 Blue Angels are due in closer to 12:30 pm Wednesday.
1:57 PM: Thanks for the tips. Took us a while to confirm, but yes, a Blue Angels jet (#7) is due in at Boeing Field any time now for the Seafair winter logistics meetings. The Museum of Flight is hosting as always. The full team is scheduled to perform during Seafair’s biggest weekend, August 5-7.
2:49 PM: From the Museum of Flight via Twitter:
They’re here! pic.twitter.com/mhJicVDnAU
— The Museum of Flight (@museumofflight) January 19, 2022
Announced today by Seafair:
As part of the Seattle summer experience, the non-profit Seafair has been creating lasting memories for the Northwest community for generations. Given the uncertainty surrounding public health safety, and combined with guidance from local and state governments, Seafair is rescheduling its major events to next year. Already, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are confirmed for August 6-8, 2021, and the Fourth of July fireworks show will be back, bigger than ever.
“We are deeply disappointed but together we will get through this emergency,” said Eric Corning, President and CEO of Seafair. “Events will be an important part of our recovery, and we look forward to working with our sponsorship partners, volunteers, and stakeholders to produce a festival with the Blue Angels, fireworks, pirates, clowns, parades, and all of the neighborhood community events. We will stay active in the community this summer to bring people together to celebrate online and in-person, within the COVID-19 guidelines.”
Seafair will be in contact via email with all current ticket holders in the coming days to discuss their options.
As organizers of the largest community summer events in Seattle, bringing millions of Northwesterners together, Seafair is committed to be a catalyst to reunite community and celebrate what it means to live in the Puget Sound region in 2021. The team at Seafair, including board, staff, and the over 3,000 volunteers, are looking forward to doing just that for the community that we love.
Affected 2020 Seafair Festival Signature Events (produced by Seafair)
July 4 – Seafair Summer 4th – Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park
July 11 – Seafair Milk Carton Derby – Green Lake Aqua Theatre
July 19 – Seafair Triathlon – Seward Park
July 25 – Torchlight Run – Downtown Seattle
July 25 – Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade – Downtown Seattle
July 31 – August 2 – Seafair Weekend Festival featuring the Boeing Seafair Air Show and HomeStreet Bank Cup – Genesee Park / Lake Washington
The annual Seafair Pirates Landing on Alki wasn’t mentioned, though it’s usually in June, and large events are unlikely to be allowed by then.
Monica Zaborac caught that view from West Seattle today, the Blue Angels plus a bird. We believe it’s a Caspian Tern – those seabirds whose eerily prehistoric cry is often heard as they fly over the peninsula, to and from the Duwamish.
P.S. Also by Monica, a birdless view:
The Blue Angels‘ final Seattle show of 2019 is part of our list for August’s first Sunday:
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, in the street, in the heart of The Junction. (California between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)
WADING POOLS & SPRAYPARK: Open today are Lincoln Park wading pool (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW), 11 am-8 pm; Delridge wading pool (4501 Delridge Way SW), noon-6:30 pm; Highland Park spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale), 11 am-8 pm.
CAMP SECOND CHANCE COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Want to find out what’s going on at the only city-sanctioned encampment in West Seattle? Or, have a question/concern? This meeting is where you want to be. 2 pm at Arrowhead Gardens, (9200 2nd SW)
SWING DANCING: 2:30 pm-9 pm at Alki Masonic Center, multiple sessions/events with the Seattle Swing Dance Club. (4736 40th SW)
MUSICIANS FOR THE WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK: At C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)
MIA DAY: 6 pm at The Skylark, $5 cover, all ages. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
SEE WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING … via our full calendar.
Two more notes from today’s Seafair media briefing:
BLUE ANGELS CHANGES: We’ve already noted a few changes for this year – the Friday-Sunday airshows are starting later (3 pm), and happening just a bit further south, so the I-90 bridge will NOT have to close when they’re up. One change we did not know about until the event at the Museum of Flight today: The Blue Angels are no longer parking south of the museum, behind that razor-wire-topped fence where hundreds have gathered over the years to watch the jets be prepped for the shows and to see the pilots’ “walkdown.” Instead, they’re parking in the Museum of Flight’s main lot. Better viewing – but it means you will have to pay MoF admission to see the prep/walkdown. (You can see the jets up close for free during the museum’s free “First Thursday” [August 1st], 5-9 pm, points out MoF spokesperson Ted Huetter.)
HOMESTREET & HYDROS: HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor), which is headquartered in Seattle and has a branch in The Junction (4022 SW Alaska), had a big presence at today’s briefing:
HomeStreet Bank is the presenting sponsor of the weekend hydroplane races on Lake Washington, now the HomeStreet Bank Cup, in which Jimmy Shane (above left) will race the Miss HomeStreet unlimited hydroplane (also on display at the briefing).
If you’re a HomeStreet customer or employee, you get free admission to watch the weekend’s happenings on the water and in the air.
P.S. To see everyone who spoke today, here’s our unedited video of the briefing:
7:25 PM: Usually the Blue Angels fly in for Seafair around midday, but the Museum of Flight – their “home” while here, at the south end of Boeing Field – says they’re due in around 8 tonight (they performed in Grand Junction, Colorado, this weekend). As we’ve reported over the years, the MoF is where you get the “behind the scenes” view as the Blue Angels take off and land before and after their practices and shows.
8:20 PM: They’ve arrived:
— The Museum of Flight (@museumofflight) July 29, 2019
ADDED: Reader video as they taxied at Boeing Field:
Though you’ll likely see/hear them on VIP flights the next few days, as usual Thursday-Sunday are the big days – Thursday with morning and afternoon practices, Friday-Sunday shows. The schedule indicates they’re flying a little later in the day than previous years. Also a reminder, Seafair says the I-90 floating bridge will NOT be closing for this year’s practices and shows.
Announced today by Seafair, no I-90 closures when the Blue Angels are practicing and performing August 1st-4th: “Their flight area over Lake Washington has shifted south, so access to the I-90 Bridge and Seward Park will remain open.” Looks like their performances are later in the afternoon, too, scheduled to start at 3 pm. We reported last weekend on other Seafair dates of West Seattle note, including the Seafair Pirates’ Landing on Alki July 6th.
While we grapple with Viadoom on the ground tomorrow, there will be a summer-style sighting in the sky … the Blue Angels #7 jet flying a crew in for the annual Seafair midwinter visit. It’s an annual visit to plan the summer festival – no performances but in case you see/hear the jet on its way in to nearby Boeing Field (tentatively expected around 2 pm Monday), now you know. This year’s big Seafair weekend will be August 2nd-4th.
12:35 AM: As we say goodbye to the weekend – contributed photos captured the pink of Sunday’s sunset, and the Blue Angels‘ flight earlier.
Thanks as always for the photos!
ADDED 10:45 AM: In case you wondered … the Blue Angels are gone until next year:
— The Museum of Flight (@museumofflight) August 6, 2018
12:58 PM: Thanks to @macjustice for that tweeted photo of the Blue Angels flying past West Seattle shortly before their arrival at Boeing Field this morning. We watched from the west-side viewing area along the runway just south of the tower; they touched down at 11:20 am, having stopped at Glacier Park Airport in Kalispell, Montana on the way here from last weekend’s airshow appearance in Fargo, North Dakota. As usual, they are based at the Museum of Flight (9404 E. Marginal Way S.) during their visit, and that’s where you can watch their pre-flight preps as well as the takeoffs. They have VIP flights and other duties until Thursday, when they go up for two practice sessions, and then full shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As mentioned in our morning traffic report, the I-90 floating bridge will close while they’re up Thursday-Sunday – here are those details.
PARADE OF SHIPS: While Blue Angels-watching from West Seattle is unpredictable, another Seafair/military event is not – tomorrow’s Parade of Ships. While technically it’s billed as something to watch from the downtown waterfront, the ships participating in Seafair Fleet Week tours will sail past West Seattle’s north-facing shores around noon-ish Tuesday. Seafair has yet to answer our inquiry about which U.S. Navy ships are participating, but its website mentions one U.S. Coast Guard cutter and two Canadian Coast Guard vessels. (That same link also has tour times and locations for
1:34 PM: We just talked with US Navy regional public affairs in hopes they could tell us which of their ships will be sailing by tomorrow. They explained that this year for the first time, due to security concerns, they’re not announcing the ships until they’re “a little closer” – possibly not until tomorrow morning.
ADDED 12:22 AM TUESDAY: Now that it’s Tuesday, Seafair is releasing the list of ships participating in today’s seagoing parade, followed by five days of tours:
-U.S. Coast Guard: USCGC Mellon
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 31, 2017
That’s the second of two Blue Angels flybys over Boeing Field (KBFI) before they landed a few minutes ago – usually there’s only one. They’re here for Seafair, with practices Thursday and Friday, and the official shows Saturday and Sunday, flying here this morning from their last stop, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
They’ve just taxied past the west-side public viewing area south of the KBFI terminal (the one that has been open on the north side of the terminal, also off East Marginal, in past years, is now blocked off) on their way to the Museum of Flight, their headquarters while here.
Thanks for the photos! While we watched the Blue Angels from Boeing Field today, while others shared views from West Seattle. The top photo is by Robert Spears; below, by David Hutchinson:
Before those flybys, came the takeoff from Boeing Field, where you can see the pre-flight maneuvers by the pilots and crew, if you grab a spot what becomes a very crowded fence south of the Museum of Flight:
It’s free to watch from there, as the crew and then the pilots arrive before and prepare for takeoff – it becomes a very loud spectacle as they fire up the engines and then taxi toward the runway:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 5, 2016
But right after that, as soon as you walk north toward the museum’s parking lot, you’ll have to have a wristband to get any further, if you want to watch from the east-facing runwayside fence – a wristband that signifies you’ve paid museum admission (Blue Angels weekend brings special events). You can watch takeoff from parking/pullover areas around Boeing Field, but get there earlier.
Remember that two things are different this year – two things some of those on the fence with us this afternoon clearly hadn’t heard about – the Blue Angels are flying five jets, not six, because of the deadly crash earlier this year; and their popular support plane Fat Albert, which usually flies right before they do, did not accompany them to Seattle because of what was described as a “mechanical issue.”
Tomorrow’s show should be around the same time as today – roughly 1:30 to 2:20 – with the I-90 bridge closed 1:15-2:40 pm. Since the show is meant for the Seafair crowd on Lake Washington, you’ll only see the occasional flyby from West Seattle, as did the people shown in a photo texted to us from Hamilton Viewpoint today:
But that just might be enough, especially for the skyline pass toward the end of the show:
P.S. Ship tours continue this weekend on the downtown and Magnolia waterfronts, though Sunday is the only day remaining to see the biggest visiting member of the Seafair fleet, the Somerset. Today Bill Larson shared a photo of West Seattle Troop 284 on board the Somerset, which led the Parade of Ships on Tuesday:
Troop 284 was accompanied by Scoutmaster Jim Pennie. While the Somerset’s closed to tours tomorrow, the ships at Piers 66 and 69 are open – schedule, location, and reminders are here.
Thanks to Raul Baron for last night’s sunset/moonset view – call it the early start to an honorary three-day Seafair-and-more weekend. Speaking of which, ship tours continue today, just across the bay:
Here’s the list of ships, locations, and times for tours (which continue through Sunday, with some daily changes). And the Blue Angels are up for another practice airshow just after 1 pm. Other planes, too:
They take off from Boeing Field, just east of West Seattle, which has multiple places to watch, including the Museum of Flight:
(Photo by Doug Branch)
The pre-Angels airshow starts at 11:45; lineup information is here. And we’ve been mentioning in traffic coverage, the Blue Angels’ performance – technically a “practice” today – closes the I-90 bridge 1:15-2:40 pm, and there’s invariably residual backup onto northbound I-5, among other routes, so if you have to get around during that window, be forewarned.
Here’s what’s happening on the ground, on-peninsula, for the rest of today/tonight:
ANANSI THE SPIDER: 11 am at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, the classic tale of the trickster spider, told by Oregon Shadow Theatre. (2306 42nd SW)
WHITE CENTER PROMISE CELEBRATION: Free backpacks and school supplies for hundreds of local kids, along with performances, free food, raffles, and educational activities. Sign up here; more info in our calendar listing. 4-7 pm at Greenbridge Plaza. (9800 8th SW)
WORDS, WRITERS, WEST SEATTLE: Nonagenarian Georgie Kunkel tells her tale in the Southwest Seattle Historical Society-presented series, 5-7 pm. Here’s her video invitation:
See, hear, and meet her at Barnes & Noble in Westwood Village. (2800 SW Barton)
DAVE HOLO TRIO: 5-8 pm, live jazz with the spectacular view at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), no cover. (1936 Harbor SW)
SUMMER CONCERTS AT THE MOUNT: Tonight brings the first of four Friday night concerts on the south side of the Providence Mount St. Vincent campus. The music’s free, with Neil Diamond tribute band Cherry Cherry, starting at 6 pm; you have the option of buying dinner/drinks starting at 5:30 pm. Tonight’s menu and other info can be found in our calendar listing. Bring your own chair/blanket. (4831 35th SW)
FREE FAMILY FUN AT THE Y: canceled
CORNER BAR: The monthly pop-up bar at Highland Park Improvement Club features The Cold 102s tonight. Doors open at 6 pm. (12th SW/SW Holden)
SKYLAR GRACE: Acoustic singer-songwriter, performing at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
BUCHAREST DRINKING TEAM: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall, this “Seattle-based, sport-and-alcohol-themed Balkan-music juggernaut” performs. (7904 35th SW)
MOVIE IN THE PARK: “Zootopia” is tonight’s free outdoor movie in the “park” next to West Seattle Church of the Nazarene, at dusk (9-ish). Free popcorn, pop, and hot dogs. (42nd SW/SW Juneau)
FOR MORE … check the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.