Fleet Week 2012: Stealthier Than Ever

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My two Fleet Week photo goals this year were: (1) get a good shot of the F-18’s transonic vapor cone and (2) get a good shot of the B-2 Stealth Bomber coming over the Golden Gate Bridge. I partially succeeded in the former (although I’ve seen much better shots) and completely failed in the latter. But I had an excuse: we were stuffing our faces with delicious Indian burritos from the food trucks at Fort Mason. When I realized the B-2 was arriving, I took off at a full sprint towards the end of the pier, only to see the silent black wedge floating by over the bay. Oh well, there’s always next year.

A new member to the Fleet Week family was introduced: the F-22 Raptor Stealth Air superiority fighter. And that baby could do aerobatics that I though were impossible, including coming to an apparent mid-air stop, along with maneuvers I would later learn were called the Herbst maneuver, Pugachev’s Cobra, and the Kulbit. The U.S. Air Force claims that the mach 2+ Raptor cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter types.

Most of the photos I took were during the Friday practice flights. I watched Sunday’s show from my balcony to retreat from the swarms of 100,000s of people, which pushed the city to her limit. (In addition to Fleet Week, we had the America’s Cup World Series races, a Bluegrass festival, a Jazz festival, Columbus Day celebrations and parade, Veg Fest, a film festival, the Giants NL division series, the 49ers game, multiple street fairs, several urban treasure hunts, and the remnants of Oracle world.)

Retract Gear
5 Pack

The Blue Angels over San Francisco Bay.

Her Howlin\' Roar

Blue Angles #7 over San Francisco


A P-51 Mustang, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F-22 Raptor in tight formation.

Transonic #1

A US Navy F-18 creating transonic shock waves over San Francisco.

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