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Get ready for the Blue Angels

Posted by Geeky Swedes on July 30th, 2009

The Blue Angels are back for their annual airshow at Seafair.

The Navy F/A-18 performers will be practicing today and tomorrow before their official shows this weekend. WSDOT has information on the I-90 closures.

Here is the flight schedule for those of you who want to see them or just need a little advance warning since they can be pretty loud.

  • Thursday, July 30 – 9:45 a.m. to noon, and 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 31 – 12:45 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1 & 2 – 12:45 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.
  • Where is your favorite place to watch the Blue Angels?

    Tags: Ballard   Share

    52 reader comments so far ↓

    • 1 Silver // Jul 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks for the heads-up!

    • 2 cynicali // Jul 30, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      I've only ever watched them from work – in Tukwila, because that's what I do during the day. I suppose then that makes Tukwila my favorite? That can't be right.

    • 3 Alysse Martyn // Jul 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      I don't watch them, but I suppose I will be forced to endure listening to them today with the apartment windows open.

      It certainly must be very expensive (fuel, operations and maintenance) for the military to put on this show. In economic bad times, maybe the money is better spent on what Obama calls 'shovel ready' projects with lasting effects. Coming from elsewhere, I don't understand why this show occurs every year, and what purpose it serves. Sort of reminds me of military shows in Moscow on various “holidays” where the citizenry is forced to endure the noise and stench.

    • 4 blite // Jul 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

      Yeah! the sound of freedom, baby!

    • 5 Silver // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      The sound of car alarms, baby!

    • 6 (n)utcase // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I like seeing them from sunset hill, since you can't really hear them at all.

      these things are kind of silly though. I'd be pretty ticked if they also interrupted my commute.

    • 7 chopper_74 // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

      When I was on Capital Hill for a few years, the roof top of one of the buildings I worked in was the best spot for viewing the Angels. They made the building shake when they flew over. I miss that spot. They rarely fly over Ballard.

    • 8 chopper_74 // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm

      It is all under the recruitment program, and it is highly effective.

    • 9 ballardrocksnow // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

      The cost to maintain the planes is the same regardless of whether they are flying here or anywhere else. Even if they're mothballed, the cost to maintain is the nearly the same. Fuel costs and such are minimal compared to the entry cost.

      They're for recruitment, ask any aviator what made them commit at least 9 years of their life (with only a remote chance to getting to fly) and I'm sure the Angels has a large roll. Watch the wings of the planes and you'll see how they advertise. Everyone who sees them thinks of how cool it would be to control such a vehicle, even pacifists. So hopefully now you'll understand. Perhaps someday we'll have a leader who's family doesn't have an Iraq fetish and hence we won't need to advertise joining up to fight in two wars.

      For the Russians, you are referring to Victory Day, held in May, it celebrates the anniversary of the end of WWII. Having a couple planes fly over is nothing like Victory Day.

      http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/russia

    • 10 SPG // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm

      As much as I enjoy a good testosterone injected military show of power and technology, I really do question the wisdom of flying such a dangerous mix of jet fuel and complex technology in tight formations and critical maneuvers over a major population center.

    • 11 EnduroDriver // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

      Alysse, show me any branch of the government that couldn’t spend its money more effectively. At least we get to enjoy these government dollars rather than it being dumped down some dead-end government program like digging tunnels under Seattle. (opps, did that just slip out)

      “I don’t understand what purpose this serves” Seafair is the regions traditional summer festival that celebrates our history and brings communities, neighborhoods and people together with a plethora of events like parades, hydroplane races, air shows and even the annual baby race in Magnolia, in other words something for everyone. Comparing Seafair to a cold war communist military parade seems to be a bit of a stretch to me.

      I love the noise, bring it on. Not sure about the stench part you are referring to.

    • 12 HeardOnthe44 // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm

      I admit they are fun to watch. I have never purposely gone to a show but if I hear them from where ever I am, I'll go to a window or outside to see if I can get a glimpse. I worked on Mercer Island years ago and got the best view ever on the west side of the Island.

      Yet, like you, every year I not only question the performance above this highly populated area, but I fear an accident. I know they are highly, highly skilled and careful, but it does nothing to remove that fear in the back of my mind. I am always thankful when they fly over one last time on the day they leave Seattle.

    • 13 NoraBell // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      Boy, not much love for the Blue Angel's in Seattle anymore. Sure, they're loud, expensive, and dangerous. But so are fireworks. And how often do the angels crash compared to the firework accidents every year. Maybe it's a dumb comparison but what'da want? I'm running on two hours of sleep.
      I love the Blue Angels!

    • 14 NoraBell // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      Wow. You said it much better than I did, EnduroDriver.

    • 15 ballardrocksnow // Jul 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm

      When money is spent on infrastructure in Iraq its “nation building” when spent here its “pork.” Someday you reactionaries will read the whole situation regarding the waterfront. We have to replace the seawall anyway. Say the viaduct is sinking too! Why don't we combine both projects for some economies of scale since we'll be digging anyway? BONUS: City is no longer cut into thirds by major roads.

    • 16 ym // Jul 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm

      Oh I think you will see plenty of love if you go out on a boat or sit on the edge of the lake this coming weekend. Don't let these kill joys totally suck the joy out of your life as they have done with their own.

    • 17 SPG // Jul 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      Well Nora, I hate to point it out and I sure hope it never happens here, but airshow accidents are frighteningly common:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airshow_ac
      In most cases just the pilot and passengers are killed, but most of these accidents occur at airfields where the planes are flying over the open tarmac and not over cities. In 2002 at a Ukrainian airshow there were 85 people killed when a plane crashed then bounced into the crowd.

      The Blue Angels are sadly not immune to accidents either as they've had a few fatal crashes over the years losing three pilots in the last decade.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Angels#Accidents

    • 18 LovrienS // Jul 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

      Just heard the first round fly over my office on Capitol Hill! :)

    • 19 notacynic // Jul 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      Accidents happen anywhere at anytime… Should we all stop driving our cars? Or going to work? Or going on vacation because there's an element of risk? Life's too short and fun to worry about every little thing that could possibily go wrong.

      I love the Blue Angels! To sit on the shores of Lake Washington in Madrona or Leschi and watch is exhilarating and fascinating and a great excuse to get friends and family together on a sunny day in the park.

    • 20 NoraBell // Jul 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, planes sometimes crash. So do cars. So do trains. I don't have the links on hand but I seem to remember even a few amusement park ride accidents over the last ten years too.

    • 21 ThomasW // Jul 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

      The question was “Where is the best place to watch the Blue Angels?”.

      Seems like the people leaving comments on here don't have a clue.

    • 22 ballardrocksnow // Jul 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm

      Well now you've left a comment without answering the question, hooray for for hypocrisy!

    • 23 NoraBell // Jul 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm

      It's called a healthy debate. I hear that can happen in blog threads.
      My answer wouldn't be helpful, anyway. I watch them from my mom's balcony.

    • 24 SPG // Jul 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm

      Like I said earlier, I do enjoy watching them too, but I also wonder what the risk/reward calculus looks like on something like this.
      Driving a car to work or the store is different than participating in a NASCAR event, and so too is air travel vs a precision flying team doing dangerous stunts for our amusement.
      NASCAR has large barrier walls and fencing so that when an accident happens the fans aren't injured. The Blue Angels do perform most of their more dangerous stunts over the lake for this same reason, but there are still quite a few boaters out there, and there is really no good place for an errant plane to crash around here. If you want to use the car vs plane analogy, this would be more like if NASCAR ran a race over our streets without barrier walls or fencing. It sure would be loud and fun to watch, but it also would be extremely dangerous for the audience and bystanders.

    • 25 BarneyRubble // Jul 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm

      Cue the same whiners every year…. Bunch of effing kill joys. I just don't get it. This has been a part of our summer for YEARS. Get over it.

      The schedules are published long in advance. It's your fault if your commute is messed up.

    • 26 kerala // Jul 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

      My favorite place is to go on Friday – before the weekend crowds – and watch them anywhere from Mt. Baker Beach to Seward Park on Lake Washington Blvd. Or ride your bike onto I-90 and enjoy the show from there.
      As a native of Seattle I remember before it was such a corporate event and we'd be on our inner tubes a dozen or so yards away as they sped by. Just paddling around having fun.
      The Blues and Seafair are a true part of my heritage as my dad was a buddy of the Bardahl team for many years. I know there are many who would rather they stayed away, but for me, it brings back some wonderful memories.

    • 27 Black_Sheep // Jul 30, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      Not helpful? We'll all be right over… ;)

    • 28 iheartballard // Jul 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm

      I thoroughly enjoy hearing the roaring sounds of the Blue Angels this time of year. Scared the crumbs out of the napping baby earlier, but gave me goosebumps (hard to do when it is 90 degrees in the house). I can't wait to watch our tax dollars dance through the sky this weekend!

    • 29 NoraBell // Jul 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

      Yikes! I'll tell her she needs a beer run.

    • 30 motorrad // Jul 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

      Dear Allyse-I was very disappointed I did not see them over Ballard today. 9 years ago the Angels were given carte blanche to fly almost wherever and however they wanted in the lead-up to the events. Treetop fly-overs of Queen Anne etc. I was on a high rooftop downtown as one pilot flew between our building and the next right at my eye level. What a gas! People like you complained and the practice day flights were severely restricted meaning less enjoyment for those of us that enjoy it. Sadly it will probably come to pass that the naysayers will win out and it may end altogether. Personally I HATE seafoodfest. It is really inconvenient, ridiculous to block THE major roads, and I avoid it like it was ipecac. BUT I do accept that others enjoy it and it is only a couple days so I deal with it. Just because you don't 'get' the Angels, please respect those that do and just accept it as part of summer.

      I would suggest you go to watch from the 1-90 bridge on Saturday. Give it a shot to see the show from one of THE best spots. Pedestrians are allowed to walk out on the bridge. Seeing the show in it's entirety, not just seeing a lone plane or 2 fly over, is really interesting.

      Accept the differences because the world would be really boring if everyone was the same.

      Just because you don't see the merit in something doesn't mean it has none. I would bet there are things you enjoy that I think are stupid. Let others enjoy their primitive lust for a couple days.

    • 31 pants // Jul 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm

      Glad this thread went from zero to NATIONALISTIC PROPAGANDA in no time flat…

    • 32 pants // Jul 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      Thank you!

    • 33 (n)utcase // Jul 30, 2009 at 10:16 pm

      I would actually prefer to have the blue angels flying over ballard than all those stupid little float planes. in my opinion, they are the worst contributors to noise pollution around here, and it's gotten louder and LOUDER the last few years.
      I guess the lame economy has given all the microsoftees more time to spend up on the island.

    • 34 luv2travel // Jul 31, 2009 at 3:05 am

      Here here! It's a tradition.
      i'm so sick of people complaining about being offended. Knock it off already. I love that they are here.

    • 35 patooties // Jul 31, 2009 at 3:52 am

      I love the floatplanes going over Ballard – they're great!

      By the way, they were here before you moved in (unless you've been here for, what, 60 years?). So maybe you shouldn't have moved someplace that had airplanes flying over if you don't like them.

      I say, bring on more floatplanes. They're a great part of what makes this place what it is. You want to get away from the floatplane noise? Fine. Go back to LA or New Jersey or Cleveland or wherever you came here from.

    • 36 (n)utcase // Jul 31, 2009 at 4:31 am

      they've increased dramatically since I've been here. I guess you're one of the 'entitled' who feels like a flying lawn-mower is good for background noise.

      these little airplanes suck, plain and simple. there a part of what drags this place down.

    • 37 Black_Sheep // Jul 31, 2009 at 6:28 am

      Well, YEAH….

    • 38 ethel // Jul 31, 2009 at 7:27 pm

      I was at Denny Blaine the other day and you could certainly see them from there. All too well as far as I was concerned. I have been jumpy about any planes flying low ever since 9/11, and I just felt as if I was going to be strafed or something. I can see how they look kind of cool, but they are not my thing.

    • 39 patooties // Jul 31, 2009 at 7:50 pm

      Right, speaking of being oh-so-entitled. You buy a house next to some train tracks, and then you're shocked, SHOCKED that you hear noise from trains passing. Imagine – who could have predicted that? By all means, make those noisy trains go somewhere else so you can be happy. Never mind they were here before you decided to come and bless the neighborhood.

      Fact is, there are a lot fewer small planes flying around now then there were years ago. Sorry to bother you with reality. If you really think “they've increased dramatically” since your arrival, you must have parachuted in to Ballard just a few weeks ago. They've been here a long time, newcomer, and if you don't like them, don't let the door hit you in the ass when you move on.

    • 40 SeaSpider // Jul 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm

      There are very tight regulations about how and where they fly. Paths are laid out so if something goes wrong they won't plow into a densely populated area. Many of these regs were put in place following a horrible accident at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany in the late 80's. That accident involved the Italian Air Force and killed dozens of people in large part because some of the planes were flying directly towards the crowd while executing a maneuver. One of the jets went cartwheeling right into the audience.

      AFAIK in over 60 years a civilian has never been killed by a Blue Angels accident. Considering they play to over 10 million people a year that's a pretty good record! By far and away the most dangerous part of seeing the Blue Angels is driving to the show. Odds of you getting killed in a car crash are astronomically higher.

    • 41 SeaSpider // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:09 pm

      Actually fans have been injured at NASCAR events. Expand beyond NASCAR to other forms of car racing and many car racing fans have been killed. There was a famously horrific crash at LeMans years ago that killed dozens of spectators.

      Considering the hundreds of millions of people who have seen the Blue Angels over the past 60+ years I'd say they have a pretty impressive spectator safety record. Statistically it's still safer than baseball or hockey. Let's also not forget the child killed in Tacoma at a monster truck rally a few months back.

      Bottom line is just about every activity is dangerous. I think when you look at the safety record of the Angels it's pretty clear they take safety seriously and are doing everything reasonably possible to make sure spectators don't get hurt.

    • 42 SeaSpider // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:11 pm

      WORD!!!!

      I hate people who whine about this sort of thing. It's like people in Boston who bitch about road closures due to the marathon. If you don't like it move to the 'burbs where you clearly belong! Living in a city means occasionally dealing with this sort of thing. Most of these events have been going on longer than the people who whine about them.

    • 43 BarneyRubble // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:24 pm

      Take it easy Ethel…

    • 44 SPG // Aug 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm

      True, I guess my point really is that in most of the cases of dangerous entertainment the spectators that are in danger have made a conscious choice to take the risk for the reward of entertainment. Here in Seattle, an apartment dweller or office worker who could, god forbid, have their building hit by a plane has no choice in their risk exposure.

    • 45 SPG // Aug 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      A couple years ago the blue angels show coincided with the Israeli bombings of Beirut. Kind of weird having coffee with a Lebanese friend who hadn't heard from his family while having the same F18s buzzing low overhead. He tried not to show it, but you could tell it was especially unnerving.
      I know that this isn't enough to stop the show, nor should it, but we should at least be considerate of how our neighbors might feel about these things.

    • 46 SeaSpider // Aug 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm

      The Israeli air force doesn't fly FA-18s.

    • 47 SeaSpider // Aug 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      Yes but it's still an astronomically low risk – so low as to not be worth worrying about, especially given all the vastly more likely ways in which person can be killed. The average person is more likely to be killed by lightning or win the lottery.

    • 48 SPG // Aug 2, 2009 at 12:51 am

      On a per person basis, sure. But let's look at the chance of it happening this weekend…
      The blue angels have an accident on average once every 4 years. They probably do about 25 shows a year, so that's 1 in 100. Even if you skew it to include training, and up that to 1 in 1000 it's still enough of a risk that they need to seriously consider where they're doing it.
      Like I said earlier, I do enjoy it, I just question the wisdom of doing it over a densely populated city.

    • 49 SPG // Aug 2, 2009 at 12:51 am

      And therefore that makes my entire point completely moot. Thank you.

    • 50 chopper_74 // Aug 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      I'd like to get a follow up photo of the show.
      Preferably, the 'dirty diamond' maneuver.
      That would be an incredible desk top image…
      I'll be looking for the link!

    • 51 Stupid Hippie // Aug 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm

      Wouldn't the money be better spent building pea patches for underprivileged gang members? And what about the carbon footprint? I though we cared more about the planet?

      Vizualize world peace!

    • 52 Black_Sheep // Aug 3, 2009 at 5:29 am

      SPG, I worked with someone who had just fled the war in Bosnia a few months before the Blue Angels came to town – I have never seen someone as terrified as she was when the planes flew over. It's a fear that most Americans are lucky enough to never have. I was somehow unable to convince her that they were “fun”.

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