Are Angels Really Blue?

Dave, Kevin, and I went to see the Blue Angels in San Francisco. As part of Fleet Week, the Blue Angels come every so often to wow the crowds with their acrobatics, dare-devil swoops near Golden Gate Bridge, and near-collisions that give everyone watching the chills.

Did you know the Blue Angels were named as such because a lead lieutenant came across an advertisement for a popular New York City nightclub called “Blue Angel?” The Blue Angels were initially formed in 1946 and is the world’s first officially sanctioned military aerial demonstration team (thank you, Wikipedia). The pilots and jets are actually combat ready. It takes just 72 hours to get the entire Blue Angel fleet repainted and armed for combat. There are 6 planes in total, with a 7th for backup in case of mechanical problems (or, ehem, a crash). Blue Angel planes 1 through 4 make up “the Diamond.” And planes 5 and 6 make up the “Opposing Solos.” Together, all 6 planes fly in tight formation to make up the Delta Formation. blue-angels-3.jpgFat Albert” is the support plane, and usually leads off the show by flying across the sky.

We drove across the Golden Gate and found a parking spot up high in the headlands. We arrived at 1pm for a 3pm show, blue-angels-1.jpgand there weren’t many parking spots left. Perhaps the location wasn’t the best for viewing the air show, it was a spectacular view on a very clear and warm day. No jackets required! Kevin spit up all over himself so much he even went topless, with just a bib.

The Blue Angels made several passes near the Golden Gate Bridge.
The planes did a number of routines. Wikipedia actually lists them all, everything from a “Opposing Knife-Edge Pass,” to a “Double Farvel,” to a “Double Tuck Over Roll,” to a “Opposing Minimum Radius Turn.” The show ends with the signature “Fleur de Lis;” when all 6 planes shoot straight vertically into the sky then fan outward, almost like a flower.

I would bet the best viewing spots were standing on the GG Bridge or lounging on a sailboat below. blue-angels-8.jpg

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  1. tasterspoon says:

    Hey! We totally went, also, but we arrived at 3:20 p.m. for the 3:00 p.m. show and watched most of it from the car trying to get to parking. JPM finally found a spot at the Sports Basement. What a great show!

    We ran from there up into the headlands, but probably wouldn’t have seen you since we stayed on the trail.

    Small world.