Each summer Seattle residents grow used to deep blue skies and snow-capped mountains that are visible day after day. It’s an indulgence that residents of the Emerald City drink up like a fine wine. The long days of a northern summer make it possible to enjoy the scenery for a few extra hours each day. Just as Seattleites grow used to the beautiful skies and the sun shimmering on the surface of Lake Washington, an annual tradition cracks open those blue skies sending a thundering tremor across the city. Six Boeing F/A-18 Hornets come screaming across the horizon headed for Seattle’s Boeing Field. Seafair has truly arrived! The Navy Blue Angels arrive to put on their annual air show over the skies of Lake Washington each summer.
My father was a pilot and I grew up around airports, aircraft, and pilots. Part of the kid in me rises from within when I hear the jets arrive. At Seafair in Seattle, the Blue Angels perform on both Saturday and Sunday, creating ample opportunities to see their precision maneuvers. For residents of Seattle who enjoy watching the Blue Angels, there are two bonus days worth of practice to be enjoyed leading up to the show. For people who would rather avoid large crowds, heading down to the lake for one of the practice shows is a great option.
Depending on the weather, the Blue Angels have two different routines available-the high show or the low show. Both are spectacular, but most people prefer blue skies and the high-flying antics of the high show. Generally speaking, Seafair is held when Seattle is at its picture perfect best, so the crowds are ordinarily treated to the high show. There’s nothing like laying on the shore of Lake Washington staring at a snow-capped volcano and feeling the ground tremble beneath you as the Blue Angels fly over so low that they nearly blast you off of your blanket! It’s something everyone should add to their bucket list if they haven’t already experienced it.
The official Seafair air show offers more than the Blue Angels. There is usually an A-10 Thunderbolt, also called a Warthog, P-51 Mustangs, the C-130 known as “Fat Albert” that accompanies the Blue Angels, and occasionally other fighter jets. Seafair also features the Albert Lee Cup of hydroplane racing and Fleet Week featuring vessels from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Canadian Navy.
The F/A-18 Hornet is capable of reaching speeds approaching mach 2 or almost twice the speed of sound. It’s easy to become transfixed as the jets spiral towards the earth, pulling up at the last moment creating vapor trails that stream off of their wings as they climb back towards the heavens. The Blue Angels create a sense of awe and wonder as they fly inches from one another in perfect formation. Seafair is one of Seattle’s long-standing traditions to be looked forward to during the long days of summer.
Source: Personal Experience