The flying started on Thursday with the Blue Angels performing their orientation flights and a practice show.
Friday opened with the parade of ships led by the USS Essex LHD-2, a Wasp class amphibious assault ship, and the USS Champion MCM-4, a mine countermeasures ship. Following them was the USCGC Stratton Coast Guard National Security Cutter and the Canadian HMCS Winnipeg FFH-338.
Opening the airshow was the US Navy Parachute Team, “The Leap Frogs”, jumping from a Missouri ANG C-130 with Mike Wiskus circling in his stunt plane.
The US Coast Guard flew in a C-27 Spartan from Sacramento and two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters to demo two simultaneous water rescues in front of the crowd.
The USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team ripped up the sky with an impressive afterburner performance highlighting the agility of the Viper. Then, the F-16 was joined by a P-51 for a Heritage Flight.
In a rare appearance, Boeing’s new P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine plane did a flyby for the crowd on all 3 days.
Up next, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds flew their nine Tudor jets as one in an aerial ballet, changing formations during turns and loops. The precision flying by this team is always a pleasure to watch.
Mike Wiskus returned to wow the crowd with a performance of extremely low level passes over the San Francisco Bay, lower than most of the sailboat masts.
The Patriot Jet Team then filled the airspace with a routine that keeps you searching the sky for each jet. Colored smoke adds to the beauty of the heart painted in the sky, giving a visual to song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.
And Sean Tucker, what can you say, he’s a legend and a performer to the max. He’s even more amazing to listen to as he flies. We’ve never heard someone with so much energy, even while he’s pulling high G moves and still giving a commentary for the crowd. God Bless America, and thank you Sean.
Finally, the headliners, the Blue Angels, performed to a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the great San Francisco skyline. This year, every day had perfectly clear flying weather making for a fantastic show!