Blue Angels To Begin Practice Thurs in SF

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011  |  Updated 3:03 PM PDT
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Blue Angels To Begin Practice Thurs in SF

Blue Angels practice in San Francisco

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The Blue Angels--the Navy's precision flight demonstration team are expected to arrive in formation at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday, one day before the kick-off of this year's Fleet Week festivities.

The flight team will conduct practice flights on Thursday and Friday ahead of the air shows scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to touch down at SFO at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Fleet Week brings together the U.S. Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard to offer air shows, ship tours, a parade and festivals, according to event organizers.

This year, the military pilots will share the sky with their Canadian Forces counterparts, the Snowbirds, according to event organizers.

The air shows are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

Approximately 10,000 military servicemembers and nearly a million air-show spectators are expected to flock to San Francisco for this year's events, which mark the 30th anniversary of Fleet Week's current form.

The expanded festivities to honor the men and women in the naval services began in 1981, under then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

This year's events mark another milestone in naval history--the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. On Jan. 18, 1911, Eugene Ely took off in a biplane from San Bruno and landed the aircraft aboard the USS Pennsylvania, which had been anchored in San Francisco Bay, marking the earliest demonstration that planes could land on ships at sea.

Ships are expected to arrive through the Golden Gate Saturday morning and will berth along the city's northern waterfront for the remainder of their visit, which concludes Tuesday.

According to the San Francisco Fleet Week Association, the nonprofit organization coordinating the festivities, this year's Fleet Week will also focus on disaster response preparations.

Details about other events--including performances by military bands and ship tours--can be found at www.fleetweek.us.

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