West Seattle, Washington
The familiar summertime roar of a U.S. Navy Blue Angel may be heard over the skies of Seattle Wednesday as Blues Jet #7 visits the Northwest for the annual winter planning meetings. While in Seattle the Blue Angels will meet with Seafair and air show officials, laying the foundation for the 2011 Boeing Air Show in August.
It’s Blue Angels Jet #7, with #7 Lt. David Tickle and #8 Lt. Todd Royles on board, expected to arrive between 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Seafair spokesperson Melissa Jurcan says the jet will be at Clay Lacy Aviation (not on public display) while here till Thursday, when it’s scheduled to take off around noon. As the announcement reminds us, the Blue Angels are helping mark the Centennial of Naval Aviation this year, and the Seafair air show/fleet arrival are part of the yearlong event, which starts in San Diego on February 10th.
(August 2010 photo by David DeSiga)
With the Blue Angels based at the Museum of Flight over the ridge during their annual visits, many West Seattleites see and hear them whether they want to or not. So with that in mind, and knowing that some will be excited and some will be bummed, we share the official news that they have reconfirmed for the August 2011 Seafair Air Show, per a Seafair news release. And this year, there’s a special anniversary. Details after the jump:Read More
The Blue Angels took off from Boeing Field minutes ago – gone till next Seafair. The takeoff was same format as the airshows – the 4 from the “diamond” first, the 2 solos following and splitting west/east right over the runway, and it’s one of those you see in our iPhone photo. The two-seater #7 followed, with support C-130 “Fat Albert” a few minutes afterward. Thanks to WSB’er Lori for the tip – she went to the Museum of Flight to find out their departure plans firsthand. She checked their schedule and it appears they’re headed back to home base in Pensacola, Florida. ADDED 11:29 AM: One last photo from their Seafair shows – David Rosen of SlickPix Photography took this one, which shows why the I-90 bridge is always closed for the Lake Washington shows:
Darren in High Point caught a Blue Angels jet on video over his home in the 34th/Findlay area on Saturday, and tipped us via Twitter. For a while in the murky midday, many of us Blue Angels-watchers wondered if they would be able to go up at all, even for the so-called “low show,” but at 1:31 pm, off they went for 40 minutes of flight. This time, we watched from the lot just north of the Boeing Field tower, after two days in the lot to its south; this quick clip shows part of the crowd and also the folks who had the real front-row seat, on the balcony outside (and atop!) the tower itself:
That lot and the one south of the tower are both reachable from turnoffs along East Marginal Way; if you don’t want to watch through chain link and barbed wire, bring a ladder or prepare to sit atop your vehicle! But neither compares to watching from the Museum of Flight itself, where you can snag a spot along the southern fence to watch the pageantry from the maintenance crews prepping the F/A-18s to the pilots’ “walkdown” (check the WSB video by Cliff DesPeaux from Friday for a taste of what it’s like.) As for the performance over Lake Washington – David DeSiga shared this Saturday photo:
If you watch from the lake shore in the official Seafair zone – where you also can see the hydro races and other airshow acts – you’ll need tickets (info online). And one last traffic reminder, the I-90 bridge will again be closed approximately 12:45 pm-2:40 pm, and that invariably slows things up on feeder freeways, particularly northbound I-5 (and in turn, the West Seattle Bridge’s east end getting to I-5). On the downtown waterfront, this is the final day for fleet tours, which are free – the Seafair website has details on those. P.S. One last note – a source who wanted to be anonymous said, “Watch for a BIG airshow surprise between 2-3 pm Sunday.” That would be AFTER the Blue Angels. We’ll see! (8:33 AM: Looks like it’s the 787 … or maybe not a surprise? Seafair’s FB page lists airshow order as “Today’s Boeing Air Show Schedule: 10:00 Opening Ceremony – Sean Tucker, 10:10 USCG H65 SAR, 10:20 Sean Tucker – Challenger, 11:20 HFF – F7 and F8, 11:35 USAF C-17, 11:50 Boeing 787, 12:40 John Klatt, 1:00 USN – F/A 18F, 1:15 Clay Lacy – Lear 24, 1:25 Fat Albert – C130, 1:35 U.S. Navy Blue Angels, 4:15 E/A 18 Fly-Over, …4:20 Sean Tucker – Challenger, 4:35 Tim Weber — Extra 300, 4:50 John Klatt – Staudacher!“)
On assignment for WSB, Cliff DesPeaux‘s video tells the story of our favorite Blue Angels viewing choice – “on the fence” at the Museum of Flight (9404 East Marginal Way S.; map). As you can probably tell from the weather, he was there yesterday. If you decide to go today or Sunday, don’t be last-minute about it – though they didn’t fly Friday till 1:30 pm, which suggests the timetable may be similar this weekend, spots along the fences (both south side by the jets’ “parking” area and east side by the runway) will fill up much sooner. If the main MoF parking lot is full, the Boeing lot across East Marginal should be open for overflow this weekend (unlike weekdays, when workers need it). We watched takeoff, landing and flybys from a lot south of the control tower the past two days; other runway watchers got these great photos:
Above, that’s David DeSiga‘s view of two Blues peeling off shortly after liftoff (different angle from the one we caught in our Friday afternoon report). Next, Susan DuTemple‘s view of Angels support plane “Fat Albert”:
Jim Clark caught some of the other Seafair air show participants – the Bearcat and Tigercat (scroll down the Seafair air-show-info page for more)
Once again today, the I-90 bridge will close approximately 12:45-2:40 pm for the air show. And if you are going to go watch it on Lake Union, along with the hydroplane races – and/or tour the Seafair fleet docked along Elliott Bay – all the extra info can be found at seafair.com.
ORIGINAL 1:59 PM REPORT: Clouds don’t keep the Blue Angels down, assuming the ceiling isn’t too low – so the Navy’s aerial-demonstration team is up right now over Lake Washington (and points beyond) for its “practice show,” before the “real” ones tomorrow and Sunday. As is usually the case, we’re at Boeing Field to watch the takeoff/landing, and whatever’s visible inbetween (more than you might suspect). Our current location south of the Boeing Field tower on the west side of BFI is close to where the jets lift off after taxiing away from the Museum of Flight further south, and while 1-4 took off in formation northbound, 5 and 6 peeled away almost immediately, and that’s how our iPhone – lens poked through opening in the chain-link, barb-wire-topped fence – caught the shot you see above. Reminder that the I-90 bridge is closed until they’re done, 2:45 or so. More later! 2:17 PM UPDATE: The Blue Angels have landed. For our fellow timeline fans, they were up approximately 1:33 pm-2:12 pm. (Other air-show acts are resuming their practices – like the gray fighter jet that just took off.)
ADDED 5:28 PM: One of the not-so-celebrated-but-memorable aspects of Blue Angels-watching involves their support plane, the C-130 known as “Fat Albert.” It goes up to scope things out before the six jets practice/perform; then it usually thrills the Boeing Field/Museum of Flight crowd with flybys and an extra-steep landing. Then, if you watch by the runway, you see “Fat Albert” taxi back with a crew member poking her/his head out of a top hatch, waving a flag. Today, look who was seen from the hatch:
Thanks to David DeSiga for the photo. ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: A different angle, from Jim Clark:
From the WSB Events calendar: West Seattle’s own Twelfth Night Productions (WSB sponsor) debuts its newest production tonight: “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” – a musical based on a Tony Award-winning show and Pulitzer-winning book. Besides getting entertained, you’ll also be doing a good deed, since part of the proceeds are benefiting FareStart. This is the first of three weekends for “How to Succeed” in the West Seattle High School Theater, with showtimes this weekend at 7:30 pm tonight and tomorrow, 3 pm Sunday – tickets available online here, in advance at Square One Books in Jefferson Square, or at the door. Also tonight: more outdoor music!
That’s Christopher Boffoli‘s WSB video from Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana performing at Providence Mount St. Vincent during last year’s Summer Concerts at The Mount series – and tonight, they’re back as this year’s four-performance series begins. Bring your own chair/blanket for music at and around the courtyard on the south side of The Mount (4831 35th SW) at 6 pm – the concert’s free, and dinner’s available for purchase around 5 pm (more details in this PDF). Last but not least, today’s Blue Angels schedule:
That spot along the west side of the Boeing Field runway is just one of the many places to watch them take off – as we did yesterday – but the best place is the Museum of Flight, where the famous blue jets are based during the Blue Angels’ annual Seafair visit. (Here’s our story from last year about the MoF timeline on a Blue Angels day.) Of course, you can also go to Lake Washington today and see the practice air show (and hydroplane time trials) for free, as a sneak preview of Saturday/Sunday, when you have to pay admission. But even if you have no interest in watching all this, you might need to know that the I-90 bridge will close again each of the next three days while the Angels are practicing/performing – 12:45 pm-2:40 pm is the schedule each day. And did we mention the Seafair Fleet tours on the waterfront? More at the Seafair website. (The drama as we write this, of course, is what the weather will do – if it stays cloudy but is not too murky, of course, they can have their “low show.”)
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli, after Blue Angels’ arrival Tuesday)
The city’s weekend traffic alert expands to four days this week – today through Sunday – since the I-90 bridge closures for Seafair Blue Angels practices and shows are about to begin. (Today’s practices – with two I-90 closures – are not the official show maneuvers, but rather the “get acclimated to the area” flights.) Also in the alert – though no roads will be closed or blocked – is an Alki event, the Festival of India on Saturday and Sunday. Read on for SDOT’s full alert list:Read More
2 highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: If you’re interested in the new $3.4 million driving range planned for the West Seattle Golf Course, tonight is the first public design meeting, 7 pm at the WSGC (4470 35th SW). … You can watch Elliott Bay for the Seafair Navy Fleet “parade of ships,” after 1 pm (ships/schedule here) … Speaking of Seafair, today’s only scheduled Blue Angels aerial activities are media/VIP flights in #7 this morning.
(WSB video of Blue Angels’ flyby before landing at the Museum of Flight @ 3:15 pm today)
ORIGINAL 3 PM REPORT: We are on the second-story balcony at the Museum of Flight, overlooking the Boeing Field runway from which the Blue Angels take off and land during their annual Seafair visit. Semi-official word here at MOF – subject to change, obviously! – is that the latest estimated time of arrival is 3:23 pm. Updates if/when we get them. And visuals once they’re here! P.S. A 787 is about to taxi here, too, bonus for aviation fans. P.P.S. KIRO TV promises a live feed here.
3:24 PM UPDATE: They arrived a few minutes earlier than predicted. We’re uploading the MOF flyby video now. They’ve just finished taxiing into their Seattle HQ “parking” spots on the south side of the MOF.
ADDED 3:44 PM: The flyby clip’s been up for about 15 minutes, and we’re adding one more – the jets taxiing, as seen from the MOF balcony (thanks to MOF for the surprise invite – we’ve never been up there before.)
Back to West Seattle for us – we’ll be on the road for Night Out block-parties coverage in two hours. Meantime, the Blue Angels’ schedule for the rest of the week is here; I-90 bridge-closure info for Thursday-Sunday is here.
SEAFAIR FLEET, EARLY SIGHTING: G. Jones shares that photo, taken before the morning “marine layer” started burning off, reporting that it shows”the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser, USS Port Royal (CG 73) entering Elliott Bay to participate as part of the Seafair fleet … West Point lighthouse in the background.” The official Seafair Fleet”parade of ships,” including the Port Royal, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, with tours Thursday-Sunday (here’s the info on the Seafair website).
BLUE ANGELS UPDATE: Per several sources, they’re currently expected to arrive at Boeing Field between 3 and 3:30 this afternoon. Note that this may change. We’ll add updates to this item if/when we get them – barring major West Seattle breaking news, we’ll be on scene (and tweeting at @westseattleblog).
(July 2009 Seafair fleet “parade” photo by Mark Rhea)
Not specifically West Seattle, but widespread interest, and you’ll see some of these Seafair spectacles from here, so here goes: We’re awaiting a specific time-frame for the Blue Angels‘ “mid-afternoon” arrival tomorrow – here’s their previously announced schedule for the week. Then on Wednesday afternoon, you’ll see the Seafair fleet arrive in Elliott Bay, en route to where they’ll dock for tours: 4 ships are expected from the U.S. Navy, 3 from the Canadian Navy – this page on the Seafair site has full details (including tour times). 6:24 PM: Ryan reminds us via Facebook that we should include the link to the I-90 bridge closure times for the Blue Angels’ flights Thursday-Sunday – here it is.
(WSB photo from August 2007, watching the Blues’ takeoff from the Museum of Flight)
Almost that time of year when longtime WSB’ers know we go a little crazy for the Blue Angels during their Seafair visit. The not-too-far-away Museum of Flight is their home-away-from-home while they’re here – a great place to watch the takeoffs and landings (and you can glimpse some of the maneuvers too) – and they’ve just sent their official announcement of “Blue Angels Week” activities. Read on if you’re a fellow fan (or if you want to know when to get the earplugs out):Read More
If you’re in eastern West Seattle, or somewhere close to Boeing Field, you might have seen/heard a familiar summertime sound today – yes, that was a Blue Angels jet (the two-seater #7); here’s KING5 video with the proof. Seafair says pilots #7 and #8 were here for the annual winter briefing meetings. This year’s air show is set for August 6-8.
Thanks to David DeSiga for sharing, via Facebook (with permission to republish here), his photos of the Blue Angels‘ departure from Boeing Field a little more than an hour ago. His angle is about the same as the one from which we watched, just south of the airport’s tower. They took off heading south, no flybys back around the city, so some have asked “Are they gone?” Yes, and here’s the proof. Click ahead for a few more pix (also, KING has just posted the video shot from its chopper, which hovered just a bit to the west):Read More
(iPhone photo taken during final Blue Angels flyby Sunday, north of Boeing Field control tower)
BLUE ANGELS’ DEPARTURE: Finally found some ballpark time info, for anyone else interested in seeing them leave: Len Anderson IV — aka @lead_solo on Twitter, a former Blue Angels pilot traveling with the group and providing behind-the-scenes info, came through again: He says Blues 1-7 are scheduled to leave Boeing Field around noon today; check his Twitter page for the latest. Their next stop: The California International Airshow in Salinas (near Monterey/Carmel).
NIGHT OUT: Neighborhoods all around West Seattle will close their streets and get together for block parties during tonight’s annual Night Out celebration, in the name of building bonds and fighting crime. We’ll be reporting “live” as it happens, thanks to the dozens of WSB’ers who answered our second annual call for locations we can visit. If you’re not participating – since arterials aren’t eligible for block-party shutdowns, you shouldn’t find any major traffic effects, though your favorite side-street route might be off-limits for a few hours.
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN: Lots of rave reviews since this once-a-week produce stand opened last month. 4:30-7 pm today, 32nd/Juneau (map), fresh and reasonably priced produce grown in the gorgeous “market garden” right by the stand.
(iPhone photo that doesn’t do justice to tonight’s sunset – send a photo if you have one that does!)
As the sun sets on another Seafair Sunday, we have one last look at those six blue-and-yellow U.S. Navy jets that have either mesmerized or maddened you for the past four days – there don’t seem to be many people whose opinions fall inbetween. Thanks to everyone who shared their views of the high-flying Blue Angels – this one from Jim Clark:
And there’s the seventh Blue Angels crowd fave – this view of Fat Albert is from David Rosen of SlickPix Photography, who was out along I-90 today:
David also shares this view of two Blues:
Our lingering memory is always the sound of the cockpit covers closing, and the jets’ engines firing up at the Museum of Flight – this clip from the M-o-F fence today is more about that sound than the visuals:
And we never leave without a snapshot of the ever-cool crew:
Last update we got, the Angels were scheduled to leave Seattle on Tuesday. If we get any more specific information than that, we’ll let you know. Meantime, lots of video of today’s events, including other airshow acts and the hydro races, can be found at kirotv.com – their TV station has the Seafair television contract, so they have the most “behind-the-scenes” stuff to share.
Those are the Seafair-provided Corvette convertibles that Blue Angels pilots and entourage use to get around while they’re in Seattle each summer, leaving downtown – with police escort – Saturday morning. The video is from former Blue Angels pilot Len Anderson, who traveled to Seattle with the team on Thursday and has been sharing behind-the-scenes photos, video and observations via his Twitter account (@lead_solo) all along the way (here’s a link to his photo of the pilots in the parking garage, pre-Corvettes, and a photo of the SPD motorcycles awaiting them). But you don’t have to be an ex-pilot to get “behind the scenes” to some degree; that’s the feeling we always get when watching the Blue Angels’ arrivals, takeoffs and landings at the Museum of Flight, including the crew preps before the pilots show up:
To get any closer, you’d practically have to be flying yourself, which might provide a view like this one that David Hutchinson shared, after taking photos from Ruby Chow Park on the north end of Boeing Field:
For the timeline of this year’s Boeing Field/Museum of Flight viewing (from our experience so far), and more photos, read on:Read More
Continuing our 4th annual collection of reports from Temporary WSB HQ East, aka Boeing Field during the Blue Angels‘ appearances at Seafair: If you are thinking about going to see them today, but not necessarily determined to watch from Lake Washington, we happened onto another option for watching their takeoff, landing, and significant Angels-glimpsing inbetween. On Friday, since we didn’t extricate ourselves from the desk soon enough to go hang out “on the fence” (explained here) at the Museum of Flight, we had to find an alternative spot along the Boeing Field runway. A turn opportunity presented itself just north of the Boeing Field tower, and we wound up here:
The turn is at South 81st Place and East Marginal (map). It’s a small Boeing lot but as with the Boeing lots closer to the Museum of Flight, nobody seemed to be checking credentials. Drawbacks: A road parallels the runway-boundary fence, so you need to stand on or behind the fairly short concrete barrier. Advantages: You’re right there as the Angels go wheels up – and you get the Fat Albert (C-130T support plane) flyby, too:
Not to mention the multiple Blue Angels sightings during the show:
These folks ON the runway (across from “our” spot) had an even-better view, but somehow we doubt that spot’s publicly accessible:
The Blue Angels took off just before 1:30 on Friday, with a ground-shaking opening act from other airshow performers, particularly the F-15E Strike Eagles. Today, we’re hoping to get to the Museum of Flight in time to wait “on the fence” and see the walkdown, the synchronized crew moves, etc. And remember, the I-90 floating bridge closes 12:45-2:40 pm.
(photo taken from south side of Boeing Field before yesterday afternoon’s practice takeoff)
If you’re not interested in watching those six bright-blue jets tear through the sky, the main effect of today’s practice that you’ll want to know about is the 12:45-2:20 pm I-90 bridge closure (tomorrow and Sunday too). If you are, today’s what we dubbed “Free Day” – you can go to Lake Washington and watch the air show (the Blue Angels are the stars but other acts perform) and hydro time trials without paying admission, unless you want to sit in the grandstands. (We wrote in 2006 about how to get to the lake shore.) For other Blue Angels-watching options, our preferred option remains the Museum of Flight, where you can arrive early for a spot on the fence to watch the “walkdown” (here’s our “on the fence” story from 2007) before the ground-rumbling takeoff; always hard to tell how the fence crowd will be, but we wouldn’t advise getting there later than noon. You can also watch the takeoff from other vantage points around Boeing Field – cars line the frontage road on its east side, and yesterday we wound up on its south side. Our fellow independent-neighborhood-news-site operators at Central District News have published not-so-well-known free viewing options in their “Blue Angels bonus” report. Also part of Seafair: Fleet tours continue today.
FORECAST: It’s improved a tiny bit. Today is now projected to reach into the 90s (previously, there was a projection we’d hit triple digits again).
(WSB photo from Angels’ arrival at Boeing Field Tuesday)
BLUE ANGELS: Today’s the first of two days that they’ll be practicing, before the two official shows Saturday-Sunday over Lake Washington. While tomorrow’s practice is the same show they’ll perform over the weekend, today is somewhat looser, with maneuvers and geography familiarization, and it also means the I-90 bridge will be closed twice today – 9:45 to noon, 1:15-2:30 pm.
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli, from last Tuesday’s concert-series kickoff)
ADMIRAL CONCERT: 2nd show in the free outdoor-concert series at Hiawatha, 6:30 pm, Tom Colwell and the Southbound Odyssey. See the preview here.
FAUNTLEROY CONCERT: “Sweet, Sweet Music” tonight at Fauntleroy Church – Sarah Ackers, Betsy Boyer and Bronwyn Edwards Cryer are in what’s promised to be a “cool” Fellowship Hall, 7:30 pm, music and desserts, $5 (more info here).
KING COUNTY’S FUTURE: Across the street from that church, you’ll find The Hall at Fauntleroy, where a 6:30 pm meeting is the last in a series of discussions around the county, about the county, and where it should go from here.
That photo just looks so cool and blue … thanks to Gary Jones for sharing his pic of the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf as it arrived in Elliott Bay for Seafair (as previewed here). ADDED 6:25 PM: Gary has video of the arrival too:
Meantime, this afternoon’s biggest Seafair arrival, the Blue Angels, are reportedly running late – latest estimate, 3-3:30 pm at Boeing Field. Now, as for the heat: The newest forecast is still calling for up to 100 today, even hotter tomorrow; we’re compiling a keep-cool list in the WSB Forums (read it and/or add your suggestion/s here). Meantime, the mayor’s having a media briefing about the city’s heat-wave response in about an hour.
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN’S WEEKLY SALE DAY: Every Tuesday through the summer, 4:30-7 pm, fresh produce is on sale at 32nd/Juneau (map), grown in the big beautiful “market garden” tended right there. Here’s our story from opening day two weeks ago.
MUSIC AT ALKI PLAYFIELD: Can’t wait until Thursday night for the next installment of the Admiral Summer Concerts at Hiawatha (6:30 pm, Tom Colwell and the Southbound Odyssey)? Get an early fix of outdoor music tonight, 6 pm, Alki Community Center Playfield.
PLAN WEST SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOODS’ FUTURE: We’ve been talking about this for weeks (here’s last night’s preview) and tonight’s the night. After talking to local neighborhood advocates, we can tell you we are not exaggerating when we say it’s the most important meeting you’ll attend all year. 10 years after the oft-referred “neighborhood plans” for five West Seattle neighborhoods (and Georgetown) were created, are they working? What’s the best course for those neighborhoods’ future? Even if you’re not sure you have anything to say, come to listen, to understand, to support (or even oppose). 6 pm,
Delridge Community Center NEW LOCATION: YOUNGSTOWN ARTS CENTER – air-conditioned! (updated 3:23 pm)
BLUE ANGELS’ ARRIVAL: For our fellow fans of the Navy aerial demonstration team that’ll be performing during Seafair (practicing Thursday, shows Friday-Sunday, remember the I-90 bridge closures), #7 arrived Monday (here’s KIRO video) and the other 6 are scheduled to land at Boeing Field this afternoon (2 pm estimate but could be earlier or later) *3:55 pm update, they’re running late, sometime in the next hour to hour and a half…
PASSING WEST SEATTLE’S NORTHERN SHORES TODAY: Another Seafair sight you may see – the U.S. Coast Guard’s first Homeland Security cutter, USCGC Bertholf, is scheduled to arrive today to be part of Fleet Week. (We’re checking with USCG District 13 to see if there’s an approximate time.)