Blue Angels to take flight over San Francisco
The Blue Angels flight demonstration squad takes flight. / Blue Angels official website
SAN FRANSISCO The Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy's flight elite demonstration squad, will be whizzing by Bay Area residents as they kick off the 31st annual San Francisco Fleet Week.
The pilots began rehearsals for their Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 performances on Thursday, CBS station KPIX-TV in San Francisco reported. The six F/A-18 Hornet jets should be visible from San Francisco and parts of the East Bay, the Peninsula and Marin County.
"We just expect an incredible turnout," Fleet Week spokeswoman Mary Hickey said to the San Francisco Chronicle. "The weather's going to be perfect. It's definitely worth coming out this year."
In addition to the Blue Angeles flight demonstration, other events include a Parade of Ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday and military ship tours along the waterfront, which will be open until Monday.
Blue Angels pilot Lt. Cmdr. C.J. Simonsen told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday that he was excited for the demonstration.
Each pilot's assignment to the Blue Angles lasts three years. In addition to their flying duties -- which includes flying at 600 milers per hour while making death-defying turns and spins -- they also work as spokespeople for the Navy and encourage kids to stay in school.
"It's the best job in the world," Simonsen said to Mercury News. "The flying is unbelievable, but the best part is getting to talk to those kids every Friday and get them excited about what opportunities that are out there. It's a humbling honor for me to be able to do that."
But, not everyone is excited that the Blue Angels are in town. The loud noise bothers many residents, who say they would rather not have the planes fly by.
"I don't think that the military should be celebrated as it is," 70-year-old resident Frank Sweet said to the San Francisco Chronicle.
He called the entire show a "circus."
"I don't think they're here to protect our freedoms. I think that this is just an expensive show of military might. The noise is very disturbing," Sweet said.
KPIX said there's also some concern for the animals who may be frightened when the airplanes roar by. San Francisco SPCA spokeswoman Krista Maloney said they organization advises that people keep their animals indoors at this time, keep dogs on leashes when they are out on a walk and equip their pets with microchips just in case they escape.
"It's not a good time to go to the dog park when the Blue Angels are out," Maloney said.
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