Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Angels. Blue ones.

Man I've been crappy about the posting! You'd think I could manage to find something to stick on the ol' Blog once a month, but apparently not. At least, nothing interesting and worth instead, here are some pictures.

I've lived in Seattle for what, 37 summers or so (three summers away during college...), but I've never actually gone to the hydro races. Nor have I gone down to see the Blue Angels air show. Both of these were big events in the 70s when I was growing up, but I was too young to drink and didn't have a boat. And my dad wasn't really a "go sit in a crowd of drunks with my kid" kind of guy.

Well, I figured that now that I'm 40 and have kids of my own I might as well submit them to the expected joys of standing on a bridge with a bunch of other people while really sweet jets fly overhead. So we packed the bikes on the car, headed down to I-90, rode through the tunnel, and found ourselves surrounded by a teeming mass of humanity. Not a steaming mass, because it was still kind of cloudy, but definitely teeming.

When we got there the Patriots aerobatics team was doing their thing in, um, whatever kind of plane it is that they fly. I'm not a plane geek, so I don't know, but they looked like this:

I like the headlights they have on the wings...very sexy.

So anyway, after the Patriots finished we moved out on to the actual bridge - closed to traffic, thanks for asking - and waited for the Angels to show up. First on the scene was their big prop plane, Fat Albert (I think...). This is the plane that hauls all their crap around. It's like their tour bus, only instead of riding in it the stunt pilots fly around in their sweet jets and let the roadies (Marines, in this case...) fly the slow bus. Poor marines. It's still a cool looking plane, and can climb pretty damn steeply as the second photo shows.

Well, after Albert had left the scene the main show started. Well, not immediately...the planes take a rather circuitous approach, heading north from Boeing Field past downtown, around the top of Lake Washington, then down over Bellevue and finally coming back west across the lake, where they hit the smoke. And you need the smoke, 'cause they're kind of small and you can't hear them until they're on top of you...

And after that the show was on. If you've never seen the Blue Angels, the show consists of four planes working together - the Diamond - and two "solo" planes who do individual stunts and stunts together. The impressive part of the Diamond act is that they're so dang close together pretty much all the time:

Whereas the solo pilots fly apart, but at much higher speed. And they do crazy stuff like play chicken and then miss each other by what looks like three feet but is probably a very safe 5 or 10...

Anyhoo, there are more links in the album in case you're interested!

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