The Blue Angels came to town recently for Fleet Wek, October 8-9, and I was fortunate to spend the weekend at the Fisherman’s Wharf Hyatt for the big event. They say the best seats for viewing the two-hour air show are on a boat on San Francisco bay, but boats aren’t allowed in the bay during the performance. Instead I settled for second best, watching from the fifth floor rooftop of the Hyatt, about two blocks from the water, with minimal obstructions.
It’s pretty impressive to watch these jets at such close range, doing stunts in formations as tight as 18 inches from one plane to the next. To hear and feel the burn of engines capable of 17,000 pounds of thrust as they hit the afterburners is pretty awesome, and loud. Plus, to watch the maneuvers with a cocktail in hand on a pitch-perfect day made it even better.
Prior to the show, I was able to meet and talk with several of the pilots, two Blue Angels and two Snow Birds from the Canadian air forces. The Blue Angels are the goodwill ambassadors of the Navy and Marines, the rock stars of the service, and talking to school groups and media is a big part of their job. They were gracious, standing at ease, and patiently answered questions they’d probably been asked hundreds of times already. I was like a little kid, excited just to hang out with real jet pilots.