Blue Angels at SF Fleetweek 2009

Photo Gallery

The Blue Angels are the reason that so many people brave the horrendous traffic, parking, and crowds to make their way to San Francisco's water edge during Fleet Week. Even though this part of the world has a reputation for being anti-military, that is no where to be found at this year's Fleet week and air show! Crowds there were overwhelmingly excited and thrilled to see the Blue Angels perform.

The weather though, was not very cooperative this year. Those lucky enough to be out there for the Friday practice were rewarded with ideal viewing conditions. Saturday was a heartbreaker though, as the Blues had to cancel 3 minutes into the routine due to thick fog past the Golden Gate Bridge. This was the first time that anybody could remember that the show had to be canceled. Sunday, was dreary and heavily overcast. The Blues still put on an alternate 'low show', which while not as flashy, was more than many had expected.

So forgive me, as put up way too many pictures from all 3 days. I think there are some really unique pictures this year, and I'm quite excited about them!
- Bernard Zee

Friday's Practice

The Blues start out in formation with smoke on as they pass over Angel Island. Note the shadows cast on the hills!

After they split up, the solos pass overhead with a defeaning roar and start to make clouds, squeezing water out of the wonderfully humid air! Love this one.

The solos go their seperate ways, and this one flies in front of the Transamerica building.

Beautiful light on the Diamond 360. 18" wingtip to canopy!

Doing the minimum radius turn around Alcatraz. Nice and loud for those people, I assure you!

The Double Farvel.

I would normally not be able to catch this, as I'm tracking the #5 going from left to right. But since this was done a little out of sequence, boo-yah!! He's close, and going FAST!! Note the vapor!

More high speed vapor action as he passes and starts to pull up!

Echelon parade with our favorite ex-prison island in the background.

Back to the normal flow, this is the Left Echelon Roll with Sausalito behind them.

And there's our eagerly awaited Sneak pass - with such beautiful vapor too!

Since this is the Friday's practice flight, they did it with the #7 plane - which has a passenger in the back seat! (lucky dude!)

Less vapor here, but the transonic shock waves can be seen as lines of distortion underneath the plane. I could have done better tracking it, but I figured I had Sat and Sun to fix it... WRONG!

The sneak pass in front of Alcatraz.

The 4 planes pass from behind for the Vertical Break.

As usual, boats love to get in the way of the shot!

The solos do a opposing pitch up near show center.

Here they are crossing again.

The light is so nice, and the skies are so blue! Couldn't ask for any better!

And the high humidity... What a treat!

At the bottom of a 4 ship loop.

Not a normal practice show, as one of the solos keep coming and going. Here's there's only 5 for the final pass.

That's it for Friday!

Saturday's abbreviated show

Started out normally. Blues over Angel Island...

Really close shot of #5 as he passes overhead.

Starts his turn over downtown San Francisco.

And meet up at show center for the opposing pass.

I knew it would be epic when I saw the Diamond 360 generating vapor in their turn! I have never seen that before!!

But what's this? Very foggy past the GGB huh?

After a few minutes of nothing, the Blues form up, and do their final pass. Pretty, but short.

Solid fog behind them - couldn't see anything when they were in it!

Ah, if only the fog could have waited just a bit longer!

Sunday's Low Show

Conditions were so dismal Sunday, that a lot of people just assumed the Blue wouldn't fly. But they did!
Here's #6 in front of the Transamerica building.

Doing the opposing knife edge pass!

Being on the water (on board the Tern), on the Alcatraz side of the safety zone, I'm able to get downtown San Francisco with the Blues in it!

Being on the water also allows me to be closer to planes (sometimes). Here's the Fortus - where the #5 solo flies inverted with the wheels down.

Doing the dirty diamond loop.

In the prime position for the minimum radius turn, as #5 pulls some serious G's and vapor!

Rounding Alcatraz! I thought it was a cool shot.

Sneak pass sequence!

Yes, the skies are overcast...but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm for the SNEAK PASS!! Here's #5 about to hit max speed, just crossing the Fort Mason Piers. Those are Pacific Height homes in the hills behind.

Clearly in the transonic region (around 700mph), with a nice vapor cone forming!

He had vapor the WHOLE way, but this was the most pronounced Prandtl-Glauert singularity I got. I can't even pronounce that!

He's still going pretty fast as he starts to pull up while flying in front of the Blacutha and Ghiradelli square.

With the streets of San Francisco behind him, he's still making vapor and interesting optical distortions!

An unusual shot of the solo headed towards Coit tower and the Transamerica building.

With burners on, #4 heads towards show center.

Where 4 of the planes try to cross at about the same time.

Woah! Right at me!! Yeah,it was painfully loud!!!

High Alpha pass with San Francisco downtown.

Closer look at the slow speed pass.

As the Blues approach from the east, the Bay Bridge and associated new bridge construction can be seen here.

The Tuck under roll. I guess I'm shooting into the sun. Yeah, the clouds were that heavy!

The 6 ship diamond as they pass close by.

Making their way past the Marina Green and Palace of Fine Arts.

They do one last break...

Then a farewell pass in front of the Transamerica and Coit tower. Thanks for the show guys!

BZ SF Fleetweek 2009 Gallery Index