The Blue Angels and Fat Albert Flight, Seattle, USA August 2011

Having seen all the other major aerobatic teams in the world, I was keen to see the Blue Angels. My chance came this year when we traveled to the USA and Seattle in particular. We timed our trip to coincided with the Blues being in Seattle. I had e-mailing the Blues for about 6 months prior to our visit to set up interviews with the Blues. Having a small viewership compared to the big networks in the USA, I was seconded to the Blues support aircraft pilot - which suited me perfectly because I intended doing an article for African Pilot about Fat Albert. What I didn't know was that I had also inadvertently arranged myself a flight in Fat Albert. Not only a flight - a flight in the aircraft doing a display on Saturday - pretty awesome if not mind blowing! The flight was a lifetime experience, one which I will never forget.

The Blue Angels are a very good team indeed with some of the tightest formation flying I have ever seen. In Seattle, the display is over Lake Washington and not over the airport they operate from. They fly from Boeing Field in Seattle and then display over Lake Washington. However, the airport is almost gridlocked with fans watching them take off and land. Then thousands more line the banks of Lake Washington to watch - nothing like this anywhere else that I have been to.

Watching this team was a pleasure. The crews were very friendly, Capt. Edward Jorge, the C130 chief pilot was such a nice fellow and made me feel right at home in his aircraft. His briefing was really good and made us feel safe - and promised we'd enjoy our flight. He did however, tell us that whatever we took onto the aircraft, we take back with us so anything that came up must be cleaned up so sick bags were past around. I am glad to report, none of the 9 media made idiots of themselves!

I am now a huge fan of the Blues - GO GUYS (and gals) GO!

My thanks go to Canon for the loan of their great 70-300mm lens - small in size, big in quality!

BA Prac_003 - Blue Angels F18 BA Prac_004 - Blue Angels 1,2,3,4 lining up to take off BA Prac_005 - while they wait, a Harrier AV8 taxis past after a practice run for the airshow BA Prac_006 - lots of smoke then off they go BA Prac_007 - off they go with lots of heat haze behind them BA Prac_009 - the two solos taking off for a practice BA Disp_026 - 1,2,3,4 display - this time a practice BA Disp_027 - 1,2,3,4 display - this time a practice BA Disp_028 - 1,2,3,4 display - this time a practice BA Disp_029 - the two solos displaying BA Disp_030 - 1,2,3,4 display - this time a practice BA Disp_031 - the Firday airshow with the team flying over an expensive part of Seattle BA Disp_032 - 1,2,3,4,5 together in formation - tight display BA Disp_033 - 1,2,3,4 together BA Disp_034 - all six in formation - tight stuff BA Disp_035 - all six in formation - tight stuff - note how 2,3,4,5,6 watch the team leader like a hawk BA Disp_044 - one of the tightest teams around BA Disp_045 - you don't get too much closer than this BA Disp_046 - clear blue skies on practice day BA Disp_047 - tight formation with all six team members BA Disp_048 - tight formation with all six team members BA Prac_001 - perfectly parked Blue Angels at Boeing Field, Seattle BA Prac_011 - returning from a practice run BA Prac_012 - team leader watching the crowd watching him BA Prac_013 - number 3 taxing back  watching the crowd watching him BA Disp_015 - the Blue Angels C130 transport and support aircraft - known as Fat Albert BA Disp_016 - Capt Edward Jorge poses in front of Fat Albert BA Prac_002 - Capt Jorge discussing his office BA Disp_017 - Fat Alberts cockpit BA Disp_018 - the Hawaain dancing girl - when she stops moving, the crew sweat BA Disp_019 - the back of Fat Albert BA Disp_022 - Fat Albert opens the Blue Angels act on Friday BA Disp_023 - Fat Albert opens the Blue Angels act on Friday BA Disp_024 - Fat Albert opens the Blue Angels act on Friday BA Disp_025 - Fat Albert flies low over Lake Washington - my turn on Saturday! BA Disp_015 (1) - Fat Albert and the F18's waiting for action BA Disp_016 (1) - what a perfect lineup BA Disp_017 (1) - say no more! BA Disp_018 (1) - before the flight, your's truly posing in front of Fat Albert BA Disp_019 (1) - take off - my onloy view out was a little port hole BA Disp_020 (1) - heavy banking BA Disp_021 (1) - waiting our turn - we fly over Seattle with the door open BA Disp_022 (1) - waiting our turn - we fly over Seattle with the door open - that's Lake Washington in the background BA Disp_023 (1) - waiting our turn - we fly over Seattle with the door open BA Disp_024 (1) - heading down  for the first pass over the crowd BA Disp_025 (1) - after the display and flight we took turns to pose with the crew - awesome BA Disp_036 - an A10 returning from a flight at Boeing Field BA Disp_037 - an A10 returning from a flight at Boeing Field BA Disp_038 - the harrier returns from it's display BA Disp_039 - Special ops Lear jet doing a low flyby at Boeing Field BA Disp_040 - Special ops Lear jet doing a low flyby at Boeing Field BA Disp_041 - .....and comes into land BA Disp_042 - .....and comes into land BA Disp_021 - the Special Ops Lear on Friday BA Disp_020 - the Harrier taxing out on Thursday