Fog forces Blue Angels to cancel Saturday

October 12, 2009 9:58:07 AM PDT
The highly-anticipated Blue Angels air show was over shortly after it began Saturday. Thousands of people went home disappointed when the performance had to be canceled.

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No one can remember this ever happening. For a while, people just stared in disbelief. The official word was hard to spread. It took a while for people to figure out the Blue Angels had flown away.

People could hear them, but they could not always see them. And, that is just not safe for pilots who are at times flying within three feet of each other.

"Our jets are not supposed to touch clouds when we're performing. That's what the FAA rules are, says do not touch clouds because that means you cannot see the other person," Fleet Week spokesperson Mary Hickey told ABC7.

The show did actually start. The Blue Angels managed to perform a couple of maneuvers even though the fog was blowing in right before they took off.

"We always like to give it a chance you know," Blue Angels spokesperson Tyson Dunkelberger said.

It did not take them long to realize it just was not safe, especially west of the Golden Gate Bridge, where they meet up to create their formations.

"We need at least three miles visibility, a thousand-foot cloud height to fly, and it just wasn't there for us. The most important thing for us is safety, safety for our crowds and for our pilots," Dunkelberger said.

One final swoop across the bay appears to have been their farewell, but that did not quite translate to the audience down below. Even as people eventually started to leave, many of them were not quite sure why they were leaving and relied on ABC7 to fill them in on what was going on.

Getting into the City was tough for a lot of people. Not getting to see what they traveled for was a disappointment.

"It was a nightmare coming in and people coming across 280 on the 6th Street side were having a nightmare getting across," recalled Laura Orella of Los Altos.

But, everyone seemed to agree that safety comes first.

"In the big picture, we would remember if there was an unfortunate incident because of not being safe. That we would remember. We would probably not remember having the show canceled ten years from now," Hickey said.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform again Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and they say no matter what the weather report is they plan on flying. They will not make a decision until right before or once they are in the air. ABC7 meteorologist Leigh Glaser said Friday night that there is a fifty-fifty chance it will be foggy again at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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