The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels roared over parts of the Bay Area starting Thursday afternoon. Stephanie Chuang reports.
You may not have seen them, but if you have been in the City this week, you've probably heard them as the Blue Angels began practicing their air show maneuvers in San Francisco.
Crowds gathered at Marina Green to watch the five F18 jets all around the Golden Gate Bridge and the city skyline on Thursday and Friday.
NBC Bay Area spoke with the commanding officer and formation leader of the 2012 Blue Angels, Captain Greg McWherter. “We demonstrate two things: first the precision formation techniques taught to all Marine Corps and Navy aviators. Then we also demonstrate maximum performance capability of our frontline fighter, the F-18 Hornet.”
Captain McWherter says even after 22 years of being a pilot with the military, the adrenaline still pumps before every flight. “We do get nervous. We get nervous before every flight but it’s not a fear. It’s like before a big test or big game. You’ve done so much, so much training goes into each demonstration that we want to do well. We want to have the perfect demo.”
This is also the first year for the Air Force’s F-22 Raptors. Major Henry Schantz has been with the Air Force for 13 years.
He’s proud of the Raptor’s capabilities. “We’re made to fly high and fly fast, pull a lot, turn the corner, and be places people hopefully don’t know we’re there till it’s too late,” said Schantz.
As many Bay Area residents know, the practice flights are sometimes heard before they are seen.
While the noise can be scary to humans, it is terrifying to many animals. "On a weekend like this, Fleet Week, we advise people to keep animals indoors," San Francisco SPCA spokeswoman Krista Maloney said.
The air show is expected to bring more than a million people to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. It is one of several big events in the city that include post-season baseball at AT&T Park, a blue grass music festival at Golden Gate Park and a 49ers game at Candlestick.
The weather could be a problem for any and all of the above events. Click here for that part of the story.