Blue Angels in Seattle
Seattle is no stranger to hearing and seeing the Blue Angels soar through August skies. However, at the Boeing Seafair Air Show, one of the biggest differences happened on the ground instead of the sky.
The flight path over Lake Washington was moved south, leaving the I-90 floating bridge outside of the FAA’s “box” Safety Zone. This left traffic open and spectators could not stop on the bridge to watch the hour-long show, as they had been able to in previous years.
“Pedestrians and cyclists were able to access the bridge’s pathway for the duration of the flights. However, could not be stopping and viewing the Blue Angels,” said the Washington State Department of Transportation. “The path is a heavily used route for commuters and was viewed similarly to a roadway.”
Traffic was monitored by the state patrol officers to ensure motorists didn’t stop and watch the show. The Blue Angels’ pilots themselves are unbothered by the change. “It’s just part of the routine,” Navy Lt. Jim Cox, pilot of the No. 3 jet, told GeekWire.
“This was my first time here to Seattle, so I had really nothing to compare it against from last year,” Lt. Cox said. “With our show centered a bit differently, all of our pilots used different checkpoints on the ground for our individual maneuvers and whatnot. But it’s pretty much transparent to us, because we just take what we’re given at each show site each year, and we can fly from there.”
The flying conditions usually determine the type of show the Blue Angles put on. If there are visible limitations, they go for more of a “flat” show that stays closer to the ground, but if the skies are clear you’ll see more of the smoke-trailing and high-arching loops that are visible for miles.
Another change was dealing with the Blue Angels’ jets and where they would be hanging out when grounded. Boeing needed to use the tarmac that’s traditionally set aside for the jets next to the Museum of Flight. This year, the jets were in the museum’s main parking lot, so museum-goers had to use alternate parking lots. At least they had an up-close view of the aircraft as they walked into the museum.
“This is almost making lemonade out of lemons,” said Trip Switzer, vice president of development at the Museum of Flight. The museum also hosted Blue Angels themed event over the weekend.
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