Tower, This Is Ghost Rider Requesting a Flyby

3 08 2009

Cue Kelly McGillis’s wild, curly hair, Tom Cruise in a sweaty white t-shirt, adorable Meg Ryan and Anthony Edwards…..and I’ll be playin’ playin’ with the boys!

That’s right, we went to see the US Navy’s Blue Angels after all! After getting married, I had to give up my plush cottage on Lake Washington in Madison Park (I guess that was a good sacrifice ;)), which meant I no longer had my own private viewing of the Blue Angels. So we have to get creative! This year, we drove around Madrona & Leschi neighborhoods until we found a parking spot on the street (thanks Mom for your Googling assistance on parking laws in Seattle) so we could walk to Interstate 90 for the show.

Every year, for four days in August, the state shuts down Interstate 90 between Seattle and Bellevue and they allow people to walk out onto the bridge for the view. Despite the fact that you can’t jump off the bridge to cool off, my kitchen is not readily available for summertime snack making, and there is no private restroom, the view hands down beats my dock showing! The planes buzz us non stop and you get a close up view of their insanely fast precision flying. Sooooo cool.

Every year, the show starts off with “Fat Albert” buzzing the crowds around the lake. Fat Albert is a C-130 (aka Beluga Plane, named by me 15-20 years ago). It is the Blue Angel support plane, but is operated by the US Marine Corps.

001_Blue Angels

hey hey hey it's fat albert

Before you know it, the planes are heading straight for you on the bridge!!!

003_Blue Angels

blue angels cruising in from the east over interstate 90

And within seconds they blow right PAST you! I think they blew that 60 MPH speed limit sign right out of the water.

004_Blue Angels

dont worry about that 60mph speed limit - not meant for you - really

They get really close to the boats and bridge, to the point where you can see the pilot’s helmets.

002_Blue Angels

is that maverick? ooh, what about ice man?

Their trademark formation is the pyramid of six pilots. In 2007 after a tragic accident, a pilot was missing and they flew in the “missing man formation” where one plane was not present for the rest of the year. 😦

010_Blue Angels

trademark formation

They perform many acrobatics where they fly so very close to each other, it’s just hard to believe it’s possible. It’s true precision.

005_Blue Angels

coming back by to buzz i90

They also always have perfect angles. Perfect.

006_Blue Angels


In the picture below, I think they were about 1-200 feet overhead? So insanely close it makes your body shake. The noise is awesome (please bring ear plugs or protective ear cover if you have a baby).

007_Blue Angels

right on top of us

They also do a lot of group acrobatics where they will fly literally from every edge of the lake (12 miles long) and meet in the middle to do a formation like the one below where they looped all the way around.

008_Blue Angels

loopty loop

Scott caught this picture of me catching a final glimpse of the show for 2009. Maybe it’s because I’m a pilot’s daughter, but I don’t think I could ever miss this show.

009_Blue Angels

farewell seafair 2009

It’s extremely controversial in this town …the traffic, the wasted fuel, disturbing the flora and fauna, etc etc… (but really, what isn’t?), when it comes down to it, it’s an amazing spectacle and shouldn’t be missed.




7 responses

3 08 2009

I LOVE it!!!!!! we have got to make it up there for that show one year. i think i have seen them before….at the airforce academy graduation…or do they have their own version of the blue angels? (dad?)
dad could have been a blue angel. for sure. i guess except for the fact that he was not in the navy. it is fun being a pilot’s daughter.

3 08 2009

I’d love it if you came up one year! It’s so fun. The Air Force group is called the Thunderbirds. They fly gray F-16s – joe, didn’t you fly one (obviously not as a Thunderbird)? Blue Angels fly blue F-18 Hornets. That’s cool that you saw them. It’s a rush!

3 08 2009

I had always planned on taking you guys to an airshow and I never did… I was always gone!! …flying…

Last airshow I saw was in 1971 in Tokyo… The Thunderbirds… USAF… only airshow I ever saw.

I have done all of the basic aerobatic maneuvers… the foam on the seat cushion never seemed thick enough when I was pulling 6 g’s… bohunkus felt like it was being attacked by a thousand needles…

I loved plugging in the afterburner and pointing it straight up, while rolling… and keep it going straight up until it stopped. I think my favorite was two ship acrobatics… safer than 4 ship… I didn’t like flying formation with weak pilots… It is fun to fly on someones wing… to just stick in the slot, no matter what he did… closer was easier.

Most fun of all was screaming around the clouds… trying to outline them.

I have flown with Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Shuttle Pilots… and lots on National and International aerobatics champions… we were all standardized at SWA… all alike… hopefully… that was my job for 10 years… standardization.

3 08 2009

I almost threw up in the cockpit of a 737 during take off. I can’t imagine what my body would say if I was “pulling 6 g’s…” and “plugging in the afterburner and pointing it straight up, while rolling… and keep it going straight up until it stopped.” Dad, you’re awesome.

4 08 2009

well goodness……i think we need to go to an air show. yeah dad….awesome.

4 08 2009

I’m so impressed!!! With all of it. from how close they were to y’all, to Joe’s explanation of pulling 6gs. gives me the heebie geebies.

7 08 2009

Heebie geebies for sure. WOW what a fun blog and comments. I think we need to talk to Joe more on the subject. AND I want to go to an airshow. Some of the things Joe was saying was like my dad mentioned.

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