I now understand the Hype of Fleet Week

10 Oct

This was the first time I’ve been to the San Francisco Fleet Week air show since I was a little kid.  My parents tell me that they used to take us when we were little and I believe it but I must have been so tiny I have no recollection.  Since my brother is a pilot in the air force, I have such a new appreciation for aviation and like to show any support I can.   Here are some interesting photos from my day in the city watching the planes with Ian.

The advertising is in the sky now!  It was so interesting to watch the letters spell themselves out.  I would LOVE to know how this is done.  I’ve seen it before but it’s just amazing to see in person.

We first climbed up to Coit Tower to get a 360 degree view.  However, they hadn’t trimmed the hedges so it wasn’t as easy to see as I’d thought.

Some of the views as we were hiking up.

The few of many sailboats out on the bay.

Treasure Island.

Flying formation!

Look at all of those sailboats.  It must have been amazing to watch out there on the bay.

A United Airplane doing super low flyovers.

We saw this fighter jet break the speed of sound.  It was beyond unbelievable…

One of the smaller planes bomb diving by the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can tell how close it got to the water by the smoke!

Bay Bridge.

People everywhere spectating.

Plane over Pier 39.

Pier 39!

The seals could careless that their air space was being completely dominated by huge flying machines.

Ahh and at last… the Blue Angels!

Skimming Alcatraz.

Getting close to the sail boats.

Truly remarkable.

How they get so close is beyond me!

I think it’s definitely worth seeing and if nothing else just go and support your troops.  They have done more than you will ever know for us.

73 Responses to “I now understand the Hype of Fleet Week”

  1. Mikalee Byerman October 10, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Wow — looks like even the weather cooperated!

    I’m a freelance writer living in Reno. Nevada, and I just recently completed a series of profiles about the heroes that emerged from our recent air show tragedy (11 bystanders plus pilot killed when a plane crashed into the VIP section at the Reno Air Race, plus dozens more injured). It makes me slightly nervous to see pix depicting dangerous air maneuvers over populated areas … I think all of us in this area are somewhat haunted by any kind of air race or show…

    But these are stunning pix. Thank you for sharing!

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      I actually had family at that air show as well. They were lucky enough to get out right before that incident. I can’t wait to read your article!! Thanks for stopping by!

    • befaster June 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Ms. Byerman. I had the fortune of meeting Jimmy Leeward, the pilot who crashed, a few years ago. What a tragedy and neat to hear about someone covering that event. Do you have a link for that article? Also, I think the majority of the demos in Fleet Week happen over there water where there are few people, and the boats should be given a perimeter away from the demonstration area. At least that’s what they do at major air shows and for any military displays up here in Canada. That being said, accidents happen…

  2. Jacqueline October 10, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I live in the city, and although I didn’t go down to the pier to watch it, I could see a few things from the park. It really was amazing! Thanks for all the cool shots!

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      I had a lot of friends watch from roof tops and that sounded like a great place to watch as well! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Ready Freddy October 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

        Me and my friends did the same, we could see it from Daily City!

  3. natasiarose October 10, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Ooo great pics! I love fleet week, it’s a giant party!

  4. Lakia Gordon October 10, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Great photos! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I went to an air show a few years back and it was amazing! Oh, the memories 🙂

  5. Noel Tendick October 10, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Thanks for sharing the experience through your words and photos! Growing up in the Bay Area meant growing up loving the Blue Angels. Their practices would take them right over my high school – there’s nothing like that roar.

    What does your brother fly?

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      That’s so cool! My brother will now fly C-130’s 🙂 He was on helicopter’s in between airplanes.

  6. vmacandcheese October 10, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I saw it this weekend too! Wasn’t the weather on Saturday just beautiful? Perfect for a great air show. Thanks for sharing these pics!

    • vmacandcheese October 10, 2011 at 11:24 am #

      Oh, and PS — congrats on being freshly pressed!! 🙂

  7. TJ Johnston October 10, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Opposing viewpoint: The hype surrounding the Blue Angels is just that. They’re taking a tremendous risk in flying low over a densely populated area at high speeds. Even the best laid flight plans of mice and men go awry.

    Also, the noise. The sounds are near deafening. We also have people living here with post-traumatic stress disorder associated with the thunder of military aircraft.

    Which leads to my next objection: The promotion of the Blue Angels as a recruiting tool. One needn’t to go further than the Blue Angels for a display of the militarization of U.S. culture. OK, end of rant.

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      This is a very valid point and I do see this angle. I had relatives at the Reno Air Show and there are HUGE risks. PTSD can also be caused by buses, sirens, and many other every day things. It’s very serious and I’m familiar since my brother has been to war more than a few times. These airplanes aren’t the only things to trigger that. At the same time though I do believe it’s remarkable to see professionals living their dreams. I was happy to pay respects and appreciate the show. I mean everything is dangerous now a days so make sure you live every moment to it’s fullest : ) Thanks for stopping by!

    • Karl Drobnic October 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      I certainly agree. We’re supposed to take public transit, ride bikes, avoid polluting the air, and yet the military takes joy rides burning up thousands of gallons of fuel and spewing who knows what into the sky. And how much does that wasted fuel cost? Enough to fund a few teachers for a few years.? In a free society, individuals are going to do as they do, but government agencies should cut out the wasteful carnival acts.

  8. Amanda (Adele) D October 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    BRITTTTTA!! FRESHLY PRESSED! I’m so happy!!! You totally deserve it! Love this post!!

  9. Glenda Gay October 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    my best friend’s mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here MakeCash5com

  10. S October 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Very lovely.

  11. Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface October 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I was in the area during the flight show. The San Francisco weather was perfect that day and I enjoyed the show, but the noise level was as incredible as the stunts. Having a conversation was quite impossible!

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      Haha! So true! I work in SF and it was hard to work when they were practicing. I wanted to go glue myself to the window to try to get a sneak peek! I’m glad I was able to see the “real deal” : )

  12. Julie Ann October 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Very cool pics! Great photography!

  13. intrepidtraveller October 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Great shots! Nothing this entertaining ever happens in Ireland! 😦

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      BUT you do live in Ireland!! And that’s amazing. I’ve been to Dublin and desperately want to get back to enjoy the countryside. It’d be so much fun to go stay on a farm out there and horseback ride through the hills. It sounds like a dream : )

  14. excrementaleducation October 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I saw the Blue Angels when I was young, they are an incredible group of pilots (and planes).

  15. thebigbookofdating October 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I love your photos, such a great post!

  16. Ashley Pariseau October 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Awesome photos!

  17. Lowongan Kerja October 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    wow. nice air show

  18. Luis Camiletti October 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Sus presentaciones son muy buenas pero entiendo que no es free, so much i am not to pay down. Thank you.

  19. mountainperspective October 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Great shots, and glad you enjoyed the show. As a former Air Force pilot, I have great respect for any of the military performance teams; Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Black Knights, etc. The amount of training and sacrifice these men and women make is truly above and beyond. And as a former pilot, I recognize the skills these airmen exhibit. These air exhibitions are not computerized or automated; strictly eye-hand coordination and keen discipline.

    I understand also the risks, such as at Reno. But boundries of human endeavor have been extended for all of history by taking risks, and garnering the rewards of new knowledge. And I for one, would rather see Fleet Week or the Reno shows first hand, than be safely coddled in my personal cocoon, and not have these events take place.

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. gelaikuting October 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm #


  21. K.Lexy October 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Its just awesome to see something like this where I can’t find it here at my place ^_^

  22. Booksphotographsandartwork October 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Great pics but scary as anything! I have been a mile away from a fighter jet crashing and will never forget the feeling of it. My husband was in the Air Force and we lived just across the street from the runway.

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      Wow, that is absolutely terrifying! I’m glad you were OK!

  23. mcrowleyii78 October 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Great Photos. The Blue Angels ALWAYS put on a great show.. I live in South FL and make the trip every year to see them in Jacksonville. They never Disappoint.

    • justalittlebrit October 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      I am so glad I beared through the crowds to see them! It really was incredible!

  24. Isaac October 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you for capturing fleet week. I wasn’t able to make it up to the city and I appreciate the pictures. My friends that went all had such a good time. Next time for suresies.

  25. sb6121 October 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Great shots. I have always love to watch airshows. Thanks for the photos.

  26. wordknit October 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Love your photos of our lovely city!

  27. dzima84 October 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    I’ve never been to an airshow, don’t have any as far as I know in my neck of the woods. You’ve captured some amazing photos. It does amaze me how close they get. Must take a lot of practice. I support our troops all the way! Thanks for sharing. Seals are hilarious! Always will be.

  28. underwhelmer October 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Awesome. I remember when I was a kid in Pensacola, FL and we were so proud of our Blue Angels. It’s great to see them appreciated all over the world. 🙂

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      Isn’t it cool that they travel all over? I love that, we all share this bond of going when we were kids : )

  29. Manish Patil October 11, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Ohh! I wish I could have one of these!!! 🙂

  30. melsenpai October 11, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    My friends & I always attend Fleet Week in SF, & every year we have our annual picnic at Treasure Island. It’s got the best “seats in the house”!! Un-obstructed views of the bay, the GG Bridge & the Bay Bridge…& also the planes fly directly over the island, so my friends (who are photography buffs) get great camera shots. Last year, my friend rented a specialty-zoom camera lens for his camera & he was able to get shots so clear you can see the pilot’s face.

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:47 am #

      Great to know! We almost went to Treasure Island to watch but I’m not too familiar with where to park and such. Maybe next year I’ll get to see from Treasure Island : ) I’d love to see those close up shots!!

  31. I Made You A Mixtape October 11, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    So cool! When I lived in S. Cal I only ever went to the SF area a couple of times… should’ve gone more! Beautiful part of the country. Loved your pictures! Especially the BLUE sky. You don’t truly appreciate it until you move into a place where it is grey most of the time…lol!

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:49 am #

      Haha well come back for a visit sometime! September and mostly October seem to be good weathered months in SF so if you ever plan a trip out here that’s my suggestion! It’s generally warm and there are a lot of fun things to do : ) You might even catch Fleet Week!

  32. keepleftlookright October 11, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    And now for a slightly vapid comment – I have to say that all I ever knew of Fleet Week was Sex and the City’s portrayal of NYC’s version. Read: hot men everywhere.

    But seriously, I used to go to air shows with my military parents when I was a little girl and there is something moving about them. A beautiful day, a festive atmosphere and some inspiring music combined with dare devil antics… Love.

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      Yes I know what you mean! It really is a lot more moving than it’s portrayed on tv or in movies. It’s really very special! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  33. anninblogi October 11, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    Wow, great pictures! I love air shows, one of my favourite groups is the Midnight Hawks from Finland :).

  34. Mayfair Mum October 11, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Fabulous photos. Love the blog and congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  35. innocencus October 11, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I wish I was there !


  36. PAULINHO October 11, 2011 at 6:22 am #


  37. healthstore24 October 11, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Great shots, I want to go next time. Beats our weather in Wales.:)
    good health.

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Oooo but I do LOVE Cardiff!! You have some amazing things to see there : )

  38. Sophia Morgan (griffinspen) October 11, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Beautiful photographs. The one of the napping seal made me chuckle.

    • justalittlebrit October 11, 2011 at 8:58 am #

      Haha! All of the seals could have cared less. Who would have thought?!

  39. INDIATRIPPING.COM October 11, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    That is a wonderful post. Amazing photographs.

  40. nydeuces October 11, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Spectacular it is!

  41. Sebastijan Videc October 11, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Hey! The Answer how they write those ads in the sky (or anything else for that matter). It is a group called Skywriters.

    They’re flying the WW2 era trainer planes called T-6 Texan with smoke generators installed. There’s 6 of them, 5 flying in tight horizontal formation while the 6th is the leader and is initiating the “smoke computer” which triggers each individual smoke generator in the formation. Needless to say, formation has to fly very precise for each puff of smoke to get any sense in the long run. I’ve seen them for the first time at Virginia Beach in 2005, but haven’t seen anything like it here in Europe.

  42. Grumpa Joe October 11, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I love air shows. Not only the visual, but the feeling of pure unadulterated power and awesome noise all add up to a sensual feast.

  43. Jonathan October 11, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Awww, I missed photographing the Blue Angels at this year’s fleet week. Great job with these, and congrats on FP!

  44. P.I. October 12, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I attended many a Fleet Week while serving in the Navy. It is a cool experience on both sides. The service men & women enjoy showing off their talents, just as much as spectators like to watch.

  45. Lindsay October 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Great Pics!!!

  46. Custom Logo Design October 13, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    Great article …Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.

  47. riri82 October 18, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Wow! Amazing photos. I didn’t even know what Fleet week was until the Sex And The city episode but it looks amazing. I visited San Francisco last year and I definitely left my heart there – in more ways than one. Thank you! x

  48. Travel Spirit November 7, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Great shots!!

  49. Bloggapa November 10, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Great pics! Makes me miss SF even more…

  50. befaster June 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Nice picture of the Snowbirds! That’s the Canadian Air Force (now Royal Canadian Air Force, again…) demo team, and the only team in the world that flies nine jet planes in demonstration! Because they fly slower (not supersonic), fans get to see more of them and they can actually fly closer. Your shot of the Blue Angels doing the near miss puts them between 75 and 100 feet away but looks much closer. The Snowbirds will do that within 35 feet! But anyways, just silly technical stuff for anybody wondering how close they really get. Great photos and great to see you enjoyed it so much. I’m glad to see a Canadian team was invited to participate and again this year in New York’s Fleet Week celebrations the Canadians had a ship involved. Thanks for posting the pictures and recognizing the partnership between our countries!

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