Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blue Angels 08

We had our annual visitors this week. At first, I had forgotten when their Open Season was.

Monday, I was getting out of a coworker's car after having gone to lunch for another coworker who was leaving the temporary group I am in. As we were walking towards the building, blinking in the sunlight... WHHOOOOOOOOSSHHH. A wall of sound blasts us from behind, as six Blue Angels come in and bank at different angles for their turn before the initial landing at Boeing Field. Then the seventh 2-seater/"spare" plane came in afterwards.

After a quick investigation, we found out that Fat Albert (their C-130 JATO (jet-assisted takeoff) plane) had already come in for his landing.

As the week progressed, every time we'd hear a "different" engine noise, we'd all rush to the windows of our 3rd floor perch and check out who was taking off. The Angels took off periodically throughout the week, culminating with their dress rehearsal TO (that's one way "takeoff" is abbreviated at Boeing, by the way. Other ways are "TKO" and "TKOF"...just a weird aside). I caught Fat Albert doing lazy circles over Puget Sound, and the last two of the six main BA planes taking off right before I left work for the day.

This morning, I sacrificed a night low on sleep to get to Kris and Randy's place early. Randy drove us to Mercer Island, to a park on the west side of the island, where we set up their camping chairs under some trees, left some water bottles, and went off to breakfast and waste some time. There is a great place over on Mercer Island called Bennett's, that uses organic, local food whenever possible. We had breakfast there, and were commencing our walk to the Mercer Island Thrift Store, when Randy caught up with us and gave us a ride to MITS.

I scored a 100% silk knit top (vertical rib) in pale lilac, a pair of black-washed Gap low-rise bootcut jeans, and a pair of Columbia microfiber cropped-pants, for the princely total of $23. Kris made out like a bandit in the sportswear department, and even found a pair of gently used Keen maryjanes for a grand total of $30. We left our finds in Randy's car, and walked back towards the park, ambling and chatting all the while.

See? Here we are before the show:

The show started late. I think they must have had some sort of mechanical problem on the planes.

First, there was a team of a small acrobatic plane and what possibly looked like an A-10 plane. They did their stuff, the A-10 was doing all sorts of neat stalls and dives.

Then, Fat Albert came and buzzed everyone - for some reason, that plane reminds me of a bumblebee...just ambling along, amiably buzzing while doing it's chores.

Then... the Angels came, sounding their high holy sound of 22,000 lb of thrust coming at us (*happy shudder*.... [Nerd-a-Riffic side note: while 22,000 lb of thrust is a considerable amount of power, take into consideration that the new 747-8 engines will have roughly 10-12 times that amount of thrust. Imagine how lightweight a Hornet must be to be able to rock Mach 1.8 with about 35,000 lb of thrust behind it (when you include the afterburner effect to the thrust rating on the turbofans for the F/A-18... (hm, maybe I'll go work engine performance for IDS..)] End note. If lots of superheated air coming out of the back of a turbofan engine at sub-sonic speed doesn't thrill you, pick up after here...)

Here are the Angels, flying low over Lake Washington (the buildings in the background are part of the downtown Seattle skyline).

Going Up?

Here is their "delta" formation (this always perversely reminds me of a Star Trek TNG episode where Wesley gets his ass kicked by Picard because he lied about a stunt done on his precision flying team at StarFleet Academy... *har har*)

It was a fabulous show!

We left slightly before it finished, and trucked our duffs up to the Roanoke Tavern, for a lunch and a pint before K&R kindly brought me home.

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