The 2018 San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show took place on October 5-6. Headlining the show as always was the U.S. Navy Blue Angels with many other exciting performers. During the entire weekend there were many ground activities around the city for people to visit with the main airshow exhibits at the Marina Green.
Flying activities kicked off at 1:00 pm with the opening ceremonies followed by a demonstration by the U.S. Navy parachute team known as the Leap Frogs who jumped from a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules of the Missouri Air National Guard.
Towards the beginning of performances the show featured some cool military performances. The U.S. Coast Guard performed a rescue demonstration featuring two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and a C-27J Spartan, the newest aircraft in the branch’s inventory. The Navy featured a rare formation flight of the new P-8 Poseidon and P-3 Orion. The P-8 is based off a Boeing 737 airframe and will replace the P-3 for patrol duties. Turning back time was Gregory “Wired” Colyer performing in his Korean War era Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star trainer jet known as “Ace Maker II.” The T-33 is based off of the F-80, the first operational jet fighter for the United States. Wired showcased the T-33 to the crowd with many different aerobatic maneuvers.
One of the major highlights of the show was the Patriots Jet Team locally based out of Byron Airport near Mt. Diablo. The Patriots consist of multiple pilots who used to fly for the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Snowbirds flying in black painted L-39 Albatross Czech trainer jets with red, white, and blue smoke. The team performed many maneuvers similar to those teams including formation flights, solo opposing head on passes, and other aerobatic maneuvers.
Coming out of San Francisco International Airport was a Boeing 777 from United Airlines. The 777 made many rare maneuvers low over San Francisco Bay including high speed passes and dirty gear down passes.
The show featured two of the finest aerobatic performers in the world with Sean D Tucker in his Oracle Challenger III and Mike Wiskus in his Lucas Oil Pitts. The two pilots have been crowd pleasers at Fleet Week for many years. This year marked Sean Tucker’s final year as a solo aerobatic performer before starting a formation team in 2019.
Concluding the airshow was the United States Navy aerial demonstration squadron the Blue Angels. Joined by them was their C-130 Hercules transport aircraft known as Fat Albert, making its first Fleet Week appearance in three years. The Blue Angels, lead by Cdr. Eric Doyle, performed many maneuvers pilots in the Navy and Marine Corps are trained to fly. Those included various formation flights and breaks as well as many solo routines including opposing head on passes. After completing their performance, the team returned to Oakland Metropolitan Airport where many of the performers staged for the weekend.
After the conclusion of the aerial activities, the crowd was able to visit the many attractions offered on the ground. Special thanks to the event organizers, performers, the city of San Francisco, spectators, and sponsors for making Fleet Week 2018 a success!