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SeaFair and the Blue Angels

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SeaFair and the Blue Angels

Old 08-02-2007, 08:14 PM
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Default SeaFair and the Blue Angels

I tell you, all this brings tears to the eyes. It's not summer in Seattle without SeaFair and the Blues.

From the Seattle PI:

Lt. Cmdr. Craig Olson will streak, twirl and arc in his Blue Angel jet during this year's Seafair air shows, which start Friday and continue through the weekend.

As he flies, his family will crane their necks and cheer him on. Olson, 37, grew up in Kirkland. "It's good to be back," he said.

The Navy's elite team of blue-and-yellow F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets thundered back to Seattle on Thursday to prepare for this year's annual event and greet fans at Boeing Field.

Dozens of people pressed against metal barriers at the field to applaud the pilots, stand close to the jets and listen to the engines roar.

In addition to the Blue Angels, Seafair will host various aerial demonstrations this year.

This is Olson's fourth year as a team pilot. But this year carries extra significance.

Olson took the place of Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis, the pilot who died in April when his plane crashed in South Carolina. It was the team's first fatality since 1999.

At Boeing Field on Thursday, team members stressed that not more than two weeks after Davis' death, they were back in the air.

"That's the best way we can honor him," Olson said. "To jump back in the saddle."

"It's unfortunate what happened," said Cmdr. Kevin Mannix, the flight leader and commanding officer. "But every military unit is resilient."

Olson is living a dream. As a boy, he attended Seafair and gazed at the Blue Angels' jets.

The Blue Angels first flew in 1946, after Chief of Naval Operations Chester Nimitz ordered the team's creation after World War II.

Nimitz wanted the public to know about naval aviators -- and thought an elite team would be just the thing to spread the word.

Since then, more than 427 million fans have watched the team perform. Last year, an estimated 15 million people saw the jets fly.

This year at Seafair, the pilots will maneuver in about 5 miles of airspace and climb up to 15,000 feet, Olson said.

The Seattle-area flight plan will be similar to those of previous years, though the region is undergoing a construction boom of tall buildings.

The team studies an area's terrain before each flight, making note of landmarks such as antennas, parks and golf courses, Mannix said.

Before this year's Seafair shows, he will review aerial photographs and flight notes from previous Blue Angel pilots.

Olson, who graduated from Juanita High School in 1988, said he was looking forward to spending time with his family.

When he is airborne, he will keep an eye out for his family home, near Juanita. "That's the best view," he said.


THE BLUE ANGEL PILOTS

Cmdr. Kevin Mannix, Navy, flight leader (Plane 1)
Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, Navy (Plane 2)
Maj. Clint Harris, Marine Corps (Plane 3)
Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Winkler, Navy (Plane 4)
Lt. Cmdr. John Allison, Navy (Plane 5)
Lt. Cmdr. Craig Olson, Navy (Plane 6)

Last edited by vagabond; 08-23-2007 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:28 PM
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Ahhh, now it makes sense why I got called to go fly this weekend!
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:02 PM
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Here's another picture that is sure to induce good feelings. [a complete aside, but see that tallest building on the left side? I'm going to be on the 15th floor next Monday morning. ]

HSLD, hope you are well. Take care.

Last edited by vagabond; 08-23-2007 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:33 AM
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I wish I hadn't seen this thread. I'm homesick now
fbh
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:59 PM
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Craig "Merlin" Olson and I went through OCS together way back in 94. We went through flight school, SERE school, LSO school, and went on cruise together. He talked about becoming a Blues since day one. I hope getting pulled out of his department head tour to come back to the Blues doesn't hurt his career. He is the real deal and a super guy.
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Old 08-03-2007, 07:25 PM
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S3, great story about Merlin, our own hometown boy. Thanks for sharing.

fbh, sorry about making you homesick. My cure to anything is to expose yourself even more to whatever is ailing you. So here's another great picture of four Hornets buzzing Lake Washington and the link to a video from KING5. Turn up the sound on your computer!

http://www.king5.com/topstories/stor....dd073413.html

Last edited by vagabond; 08-23-2007 at 06:11 PM.
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