Blue Angel kills thousands in SF crash



By Tim Redmond

That's the headline we'd be reading if one of the Navy stunt pilots had the same misfortune as the FA/18 pilot just did in San Diego.

We don't know yet if it was pilot error or an equipment failure, but we know this: Same airplane. Coulda happened here. The only difference is that the Marines probably need to fly training missions in and out of that base (although they could conceivably move to a less-populated area). The Blue Angels don't need to fly over San Francisco.

Something to think about for next year's Fleet Week program. If the supervisors decided not to invite the Navy precision flying team, they wouldn't come.


you a bitch cuh

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

This may be the most pathetic thing I have ever read in print or online. The author is truly unworthy of another moment of my attention, ever.

Posted by Targosz on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

You sir, are an absolute idiot, and have no idea what you are talking about. It would do you good to actually LEARN something about the subject you write on before you go shooting off your mouth.

Posted by Jim on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 4:28 am

Tim Redmond, the concern troll.

Posted by DanB on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 8:28 am

I'd be more concerned with getting lead poisoning from gangbangers than the Blue Angels falling on my head. And it truly is tackless to post a comment deriding your readers, if that was your posting. You carpetbaggers are unhappy with your boring towns back east so you come here then try to take away our fun.

Posted by GlenParker on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

The Air and Water show in Chicago incorporates alot of military flybys and though most of the manuevers are over Lake Michigan and Navy Pier, many of the re-staging is done over the city. From our hotel room on Michigan Avenue we saw scores of military and civilian planes flying over the city and I could not help to wonder, 'what if'.

Posted by Gmaryland on Dec. 15, 2008 @ 9:06 am

@ WTF?

I think I would prefer to ask the people who have been the victims of American military imperialism over the ages rather than you, a person who can only imagine.

Let's ask the victims of the Trail of Tears, let's ask the Mexicans who were routed out of much of the southeast, let's ask the Mexicans who experienced our invasions under Woodrow Wilson, let's ask the Filipinos, let's ask the Cubans, let's ask the residents of Bikini Atoll, let's ask the Guatemalans and Nicaraguans, let's ask the Iranians, let's ask the Venezuelans who successfully resisted American military/intelligence efforts to execute a coup and remove Hugo Chavez, let's ask the Southeast Asians, and finally, let's ask the Iraqis.

Posted by ans on Dec. 15, 2008 @ 10:50 am

Earthquake kills thousands in SF. Lets all ban mother nature. She does nothing but hurt us!!!

Posted by Jon on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 12:39 am

I'm a left wing liberal and even I think the op is a fucking moron. The blue angles is a tradition and is truly amazing. I hope you diaf.

Posted by Joe on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

Tim -
Showing some real class here. Not just for that piece of trash you just wrote, but for actually hopping on the comments and insulting your readers (assuming that was indeed you that wrote the comment). Nice.

Besides what has already been said, let me add this: yes you are correct, planes performing tricky maneuvers crash. In fact, the Blue Angels have had over 20 fatal crashes. Do you really think that the men and women running the show don't take this into account when planning an airshow? As previously stated, all high risk maneuvers are performed over open water. Yes, it is possible that one of their aircraft could crash while not in one of the difficult maneuvers, but practically anything is possible, no? Should we stop commercial airliners from flying over densely populated areas? I poked around and was unable to find a single civilian casualty caused by a blue angel aircraft in the over 60 years they've been flying.

Maybe next time you should do a little research before writing something potentially incendiary. You know, like a professional journalist? Just a thought.

Posted by John on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

Can't wait for you to get a pink slip; unlike your less hackish coworkers.

Posted by Chauncey Gardener on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 7:28 pm


You're absolutely correct that the Blue Angels are a recruitment tool and that they are used to intimidate foreign powers.

If you think that is a bad thing, then maybe you can use your critical reasoning skills to imagine what this world would be like if China and Russia were the only countries exerting military power. You think Tibet was bad? How about Stalin's pogroms?

Sure, it sucks that the U.S. is not perfect and has engaged in less than honorable conduct. However, we do not live in a perfect world and I'd much rather have the U.S. calling the shots than any of the other nations that aspire to world domination.

Posted by WTF? on Dec. 14, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

Sgt. Billy & @Karen really represent the worst of the old-line orthodox left in our city. They're horrified when someone breaks rank and they do not in any way tolerate deviation from the party line. So instead of arguing the facts they use a standard tool of petty tyrants - accuse those who disagree with you of being subversives who could not possibly be "real" San Franciscans.

Bullshit. I live here and own a house here. I'm also a progressive Democrat with a long history of putting my money where my mouth is to back the party and its candidates. If they're so convinced of their righteousness, and there's no doubt they are, then why not put a measure on the next ballot calling for the mayor to end the Blue Angels flyovers? I'll tell you why - because they know it would lose in a heartbeat.

Posted by Shane on Dec. 10, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

Fuck you.

Posted by Mark on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

addendum to Thanos' comment: Yellow journalism.

Truly, truly tasteless.

Posted by Slappy on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

You're an absolute jackass.

Posted by gf on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 8:25 pm


And I think you suck for trying to scare people. Also, that wasn't a Blue Angel.

The Blue Angels do need to fly over San Francisco. They are a major recruiting tool for our Navy and an tradition that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. Go somewhere else and be safe if you like. Then stay there.

Posted by James Christian on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

wait what? i thought an airplane had crashed into San Francisco. oh, you lied in your headline. thanks for nothing.

Posted by hubert on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:01 pm thoughtless! If you actually stop and bother to look at the details of the Blue Angels flight patterns during fleet week, you'll see that ALL "risk factor" maneuvers are done over open water. Yes they do fly over the city during this time but to assert that "Thousands" or even hundreds could die in a "similar" accident is ignorant and irresponsible. This is precisely why the media is a circus of unimaginable speculation without consequences. To be clear most of the military bases with airports were unpopulated when they were created...blame greedy local politicians and city planners for building a high density community on a "2 mile final approach" for the "Top Gun" base in San Diego" Please join the "facts are better than fiction club" as soon as you can, we'd love to have you!

Posted by Shane on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

Chris Daly, shame on you for stealing Redmond's blog password!

Posted by sniffy on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 7:36 pm

So many of your comments are so insightful and intelligent I barely know where to begin.

Oh wait: that was another thread.

Come on, folks: Military planes doing tricky maneuvers crash. There is no Earthly reason for this show above such a densely populated area.

Posted by tim redmond on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

Dude, you suck. What are you, the publisher's clearing house, pulling that you're already a winner crap or were you doing a J. Jonah Jameson impersonation?

How about writing an article without the sensationalism? Credibility counts for something . . .

Posted by WTF? on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

Again, Tim (you idiot)... all airshow maneuvers are performed away from populated areas. The Blues are over open water (say it with me, now OPEN WATER). Thank God you people are going broke - here's one of the better examples why.

Posted by BJordan on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

Yes, they do crash..sometimes and so do Commercial airlines, should we stop flying over the United States?

"There is no Earthly reason for this show above such a densely populated area."

What part of "If you actually stop and bother to look at the details of the Blue Angels flight patterns during fleet week, you'll see that ALL "risk factor" maneuvers are done over open water." Don't you understand?

This is fact, and doctrine for US Navy Fleet week flying. Do you get that?

Posted by Shane on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

Again, Tim (you idiot)... all airshow maneuvers are performed away from populated areas. The Blues are over open water (say it with me, now OPEN WATER). Thank God you people are going broke - here's one of the better examples why.

Posted by BJordan on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 7:54 pm


Posted by Avenues415 on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 8:35 am

Hey Tim,
Way to use the actual real life deaths of some civilians in San diego as a soap box to spout your provincial political agenda. Actually, you're lack of intelligence gives me hope - as most of your political progressive inbred family are of similar caliber.
Keep up the good work - you do SFBG proud.

Posted by Tim Lover on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 6:54 am

Scare monger.

Posted by Thanos on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

(Please, no one bring facts into this to counter Matt. He's too precious.)

Posted by Dave in SF on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

The OP is clueless and has no idea about air shows and the safety guidelines in place for each air show around the US.

Some people are just "tools" as in the matter of the OP.

Posted by Bob on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 8:57 am

Yay, the military nuts have shown up!

It may be a shock to y'all, but Fleet Week is pretty unpopular with actual SF residents who have to put up with being harrassed by low-flying jets every fall, year after year after year after year. It's painfully loud and extremely unsettling and it goes on for days. Why the military would want to perform a shock and awe campaign on a U.S. city is beyond me, but the Navy is entirely unwelcome in my opinion.

The City Attorney should issue a cease and desist notice to the Blue Angels: "Please take your bullshit elsewhere." (Unfortunately, our current City Attorney served in the Maritime Administration under Clinton so that probably ain't gonna happen anytime soon.)

Posted by Matt in SF on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

Actual resident, actually grew up here, so have four generations of my family. We all still live here and we all love going to fleet week. I remember sitting in my desk at St. Cecilia's elementary school and watching them out the window.

Fleet Week is the highlight of the fall, or the last big weekend of the summer for my calendar and most of my friends who live here.

Posted by James CHRISTIAN on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

Fuck you!

Posted by Mick Thomas on Dec. 08, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

@Sgt. Billy & @Karen

Well, I can't speak for everyone else, but I found this linked at SFist which I, being an SF resident and pretty damn liberal and proud of it, read a couple times a week.

The headline on the link was "Blue Angel kills thousands in SF crash" which I immediately clicked on before I realized that the article was exploitative BS.

It's possible to be a progressive and be pissed off when others give your movement a bad name. Kinda like some of the conservatives who finally came around to admitting that Sarah Palin was an unqualified train wreck of a vice presidential candidate.

Posted by WTF? on Dec. 10, 2008 @ 10:46 am

It's absolutely true, as so many people have remarked, that the F-18s that participate in Fleet Week in SF every fall do fly over water. But they also fly over schools, and they are indeed a part of the military's efforts to recruit cannon fodder. See the very first sentence of the Blue Angels' website:

"The Blue Angels’ mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to represent the naval service to the United States, its elected leadership and foreign nations."

I'll indulge in some critical thinking here and reinterpret "represent the naval service to ... foreign nations" as intimidate, dominate, and subjugate into an extension of the existing American military empire.

Posted by ans on Dec. 13, 2008 @ 9:32 am

I'm an "actual San Francisco resident" and I'm OK with Fleet Week Matt. Start speaking for yourself and not the rest of us.

Posted by Shane on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 3:04 pm


What dumb asses. Hey, I was on an aircraft carrier. Were you? I've seen what these machines can do. Have you? The Navy offered to do ALL the maneuvers over water last year and Feinstein said 'No' that they had to buzz the City. I shit you not. She's still pissed about not getting a battleship at the foot of the street under her house.

I love the Angels and the Navy and they should perform here every year but always over water. Trust me, I live in the Tenderloin and they come over my house at tree-top level yearly. Not very safe


Posted by h. brown on Dec. 11, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

Shane wrote: "I live here and own a house here.'

Yeah, I live here and I rent. Does that make my residential standing less valid. Why does it matter that you own a house? Who cares?

Posted by Michael Worrall on Dec. 11, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

Shane wrote: "I live here and own a house here.'

Yeah, I live here and I rent. Does that make my residential standing less valid? Does your status as a homeowner in San Francisco somehow give your opinion greater value? Why does it matter that you own a house? Who cares?

Posted by Michael Worrall on Dec. 11, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

San Francisco Bay Guardian: the official NANNY newspaper of SF. Our motto: WE Don't Like it so YOU Can't Have it.

Posted by GlenParker on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 10:54 am

" A Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"

Posted by GregD on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 11:17 am

Again, I will reiterate, do you really think that military scientists have not calculated the outcome of a crash during a particularly risky maneuver? Yes, there is risk involved, but it is calculated risk. Let's not get into a physics discussion here - I imagine you didn't break out the calculator and flight plan and actually derive what the chances of a plane hitting North Beach or Telegraph hill are. I certainly don't claim to have a firm grasp on modern avionics, but then again I also understand that the physics of a crash have many, many more factors than simple momentum. And yes, the tricky maneuvers ARE all over water - just because a plane is flying low and fast to an observer does NOT mean that it is a difficult maneuver - those are the ones where the angels fly in tight formation.

Also, I wouldn't say the only reason for the angels fly is for recruiting - there is tradition, the opportunity to see some of our most talented pilots in action, and most of all - it's fun and enjoyable for a great number of people.

As for parading our military might - yes, I'm not going to defend that, but it's not like we're talking about a soviet-style ICBM parade here.

Finally, let me reiterate - numbers speak, and the fact that the angels have flown for hundreds of millions of civilians over 60 years without a single civilian death seems to suggest that somebody knows what they're doing. And it's certainly not you, Tim.

Posted by John on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 9:06 am

Yes, all airplanes are risky and commercial planes crash and kill people. But they don't intentionally attempt dangerous moves for no purpose whatsoever except to promote the U.S. military and recruit people into the Navy.

Yes, I object to this display of military might. I think it's a waste of money and sends the wrong message. And that's one reason I've always opposed the BLue Angels performing here.

But part of my concern is also that this is a completely pointless risk. The tricky maneuvers are NOT all over the water -- I've stood on Bernal Hill and watched a Blue Angel pass overhead so close you could almost touch the wings. No commercial jetliner would ever be allowed to do that. ONe tiny mistake -- one instrument failure -- and that plane crashes into the hillside. Also: The jets do stunts over the water, but they're travelling rather fast, if you hadn't noticed -- and they're so close to the city that a human or mechanical error could easily carry a misguided FA/18 into, say, downtown, North Beach, Telegraph Hill ... these things have momentum, and they don't suddenly stop where they are if something goes wrong. (Esp if the pilot ejects and the plan becomes an unguided missile).

Why? Why do we do this? To promote the military. Not to carry passengers on trips. Not even to test new equipment. Just for Navy promo. That's why I think it's a dumb idea.

Posted by Tim Redmond on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 8:24 am

I think that this particular blog is not only absurd, but it is also in very poor taste following the recent tragic accident in San Diego.

Mr. Redmond, as you acknowledge, commercial jet liners fly over heavily populated areas of the Bay Area all the time. How many people have been killed in the Bay Area by a commercial jet crashing into their houses? Not any, to my knowledge.

I know, your argument is that commercial jet flights are necessary while the Blue Angels show is not, and also, that the Blue Angels pilots engage in riskier maneuvers than your typical commercial jet. However, such military shows occur quite frequently across the country with very rare occurences of accidents. If we are going to start banning things because of a remote possibility that someone might be injured, then I suppose we would need to ban baseball at AT&T Park (fka Pac Bell Park) because there have been documented cases of individuals being killed after being struck by errant baseballs.

Just be honest: You don't like the Blue Angels because they are part of the military recruitment apparatus. There's nothing wrong (and many would say much that is admirable) with your opinion. However, what is wrong is pretending that you are concerned about public safety when you really have an ideological-driven motive to advocate abolishing the Blue Angels show. What's even worse is exploiting a truly sad freak accident to advocate for your cause. If the Blue Angels show were dedicated to promoting world peace can you honestly say you would advocate banning them on public safety grounds? I think we both know the answer.

Posted by Chris on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

Sgt. Billy, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Who are these people?

Posted by Karen on Dec. 10, 2008 @ 1:30 am

Amen, Tim! Truth!

As for the haters, what frothy websites and email lists did this get linked from?

Posted by Sgt. Billy on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

I've never understood why it is necessary for the Blue Angels to fly OVER SF. They can fly over the bay, and the people in SF could see them better from the harbor and at the same time be safe from harm. If you are in SF during fleet week not looking out toward the bay where they are most visible, the Blue Angels only scare the shit out of you when they break right near your sky scraper.

I say invite them, but limit it them to flying over the bay.

Posted by Jonathan on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

@ chris. well put. the problem here with redmond's "opinion" is that it's classic fear-mongering, exploitive crap. if it came from the right, or conservative wing it might look like this: a black guy kills woman in san diego forcing redmond to reason, "thousands of woman will be killed by black men in sf--it could happen here." it's the same scare logic. btw: sf native who loves the blue angels.

Posted by mikeo on Dec. 09, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

right on -- get the death-dealers out of our city.

Posted by George Hawkins on Dec. 26, 2008 @ 2:54 am

dude, youre such an idiot. even if there was a crash how in the hell would it kill thousands???? youre stupid, go away.

Posted by tim rupp on Oct. 11, 2009 @ 7:21 am