Angels in the sky!

We have arrived in Duluth a few days before a big air show, and the Blue Angels are practicing all around our hotel. It would be terrible if we were trying to sleep, but right now the frequent “whooooshes” are entertaining.

Unfortunately, I only brought my macro lens kit with me, none of my long lenses, so this was the best I could do, even when they were doing low altitude flyovers of the hotel parking lot.


  1. whheydt says

    I always liked long lenses… My favorite was a 600mm F8 catadioptric. You could even–sort of–do macro work with it as it would focus down to 6′.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nothing like doing some shopping, and on the way back go by the local airport, and an Air Force Jet Fighter is at the end of the runway. There was an air show in Chicago that weekend, and it was waiting for its cue to takeoff to join the group.

  3. robro says

    Every October San Francisco has Fleet Week. The US Navy brings in an aircraft carrier and other ships through the Golden Gate, then docks them bay side for tours. They also put on a Blue Angels air show. It starts a few days before with rehearsals, and then there’s one or two days of the actual show. Watching the jets swoop over SF is kind of exciting, but it’s very noisy and disturbing…our dogs hated it. It’s also scary. Accidents happen even to Blue Angles so having four jets flying in close formation at low altitude over the heads of hundreds of thousands of people raises some concern. Of course, no one will question the wisdom of doing this until someone gets hurt.

  4. jrkrideau says

    I remember getting beat up by a jet (F-18?) getting in training for the King’s visit. After about the 15th attack I was wondering how expensive an anti-aircraft missile might be.

    Scared the h**l out of me in case he crashed. I had the feeling he was a student pilot.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 Marcus
    Probably at the Snow Festival in Hell.
    Just after the Boeing 737 is re-certified internationally.

    Still, apparently the Turks are complaining about US moves. Personally, I still think they would be better off with Su-35 or Su-57 aircraft and cheaper. Wanna buy a plane?

  6. gijoel says

    They use to get an f-111 to do a dump and burn over Brisbane CBD. It was an impressive sight seeing an aircraft climb into the sky on a pillar of fire. The stop doing it a few years ago due to the cost involved.

  7. Sean Boyd says

    The Blue Angels were (are?) a staple of Seafair (in Seattle), which is coming up here pretty quick. Can’t help but think of the cost, both in USD and in pollution.

  8. John Morales says

    Sean, exactly my thought.

    But then, I suppose pilots gotta fly to acquire and keep their skills, and if it can be done as entertainment all the better. But it ain’t cheap.

  9. says

    @1 Marcus Ranum

    I think the Navy is moving them to the Super Hornet soon, but I wonder if the Air Force Thunderbirds will eventually move to the T-X? I recall when the Thunderbirds flew the T-38 and it was a splendid show. I also thought the Blue Angels show was really amazing with the old A-4 Skyhawk, a highly maneuverable little bugger.

  10. says

    I grew up in thee 80s back when we used to get low altitude flyovers of B-52s all the time. Big bad nuclear bombers were just a part of life back then. God the 80s sucked.

  11. jrkrideau says

    @11 Ray Ceeya
    I grew up in the 1960’s and we used to have planes attack us on an almost daily base. We seemed to have the most nasty attack situation in Eastern Canada. We got strafed almost every day. Luckily no one crashed.

    To be honest, I just thought is was normal.

  12. robro says

    Marcus @ 1

    I looked up this coming October’s Fleet Week in SF and they will have some kind of demo of the F-35.

    The coyotes are singing their evening chorus in the open space outside my window. They get very excited now and then.

  13. Crudely Wrott says

    Back in April the Air Force Thunderbirds were at the local AF base. They practiced for two days, learning to identify landmarks for spacial reference. That’s a necessity in order to dial in their timing that allows the sudden, close passes above the air show crowd.
    On show day, they got down to business. I live just over two miles from the flight line and those magnificent machines, flying just a couple hundred feet overhead at nearly five hundred knots, was a terrific thrill. Got some good pix of them. Right from the front porch.
    As background to all you ground pounders, my family moved into a wonderful little farm in New Hampshire back in 1956. Our house was on a nearly straight line about five miles from the main runway of Pease AFB. B-47s were stationed there at that time and they would scramble at any hour of the day or night. When they were on take off and fully loaded they would be quite low and the roar of their six turbojets would shake the house.
    I’ve long had a love affair with jet aircraft, have even flown some non-jet aircraft and even assisted in recovering the remains of one small plane that had been missing for four years in a rugged area of the Rocky Mountains. Built and flew model planes as a child as well.
    I know that these outrageous machines mean different things to different people but to me they represent the marvelous advances of aviation in a relatively short length of time. Trains and automobiles can only look on in envy.
    Also, 50 years ago this week, three guys were coasting through empty space towards a rendezvous with the moon. Each one of them jet-jocks. Being so was critical for qualification for flight aboard Apollo.
    There exists a long tradition of going higher and faster and I am convinced that tradition will continue. In the future it just might become critical to human destiny. For that reason, these guys are welcome to fly low, fast and loud over my house any time they want to. I only wish I could hitch a ride just once.

  14. Mobius says

    I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the Blue Angels live. I have seen the Air Force’s Thunderbirds on several occasions. When I was in the Air Force, they flew into Mountain Home AFB where I was stationed, on their way to yet another air show. They performed a short demo for the base. Yeah!

    That group of pilots, unfortunately, were all killed a short time later. The lead pilot screwed up and crashed. All the other planes were following his lead and followed him into the ground. It was terribly sad.

  15. says

    I get that they can be entertaining, but aren’t they huge wastes of money that do nothing but act as advertising for the military while burning through fuel? (Sorry for being a Debbie Downer…)

  16. rockwhisperer says

    Back in the 1980s, I worked for a company that made flight simulators/trainers. Mid-decade I was working with a team installing flight trainers at Pensacola NAS, and the Blue Angels in those wonderful old A-4 jets flew at an air show. We were working that day (we worked 7 day weeks on site), and the trainer building was adjacent to the flight line. Our engineering team rotated out to the air show in twos and threes, and of course everyone came out for the finale. Such fun. Although I have to admit, I was as impressed with the low-level, ultra-slow maneuvers of an F-14.

    I live in the South San Francisco Bay Area, and during the Blue Angels’ practice sessions for Fleet Week we have problems on a particular freeway that is usually covered by their flight path. People just stop in the middle of the freeway to watch. Go figure.

    @17 Tabby Lavalamp, the armed forces need to advertise to keep an influx of people who can be trained to do modern armed service jobs that require the same characteristics that serve people well in the corporate world. So they’re competing in an arena where they simply can’t pay as well. They need to advertise. The air shows also serve to foster appreciation for military personnel, which serves the interests of the military. For the cost, it may work out to be very effective advertising.

  17. says

    My apologies, I should have mentioned that in the video above I just posted there is some very NSFL/NSFW graphic footage of combat injuries. I had forgotten about that aspect of the video, it’s been awhile since I’d seen it.