Arts & Culture

Guide To Fleet Week In San Francisco

October 1, 2012 11:00 AM

A U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Major Nathan Miller flies past the San Francisco skyline during a practice flight ahead of the Fleet Week performance October 8, 2009 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Major Nathan Miller flies past the San Francisco skyline during a practice flight ahead of the Fleet Week performance October 8, 2009 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

blue angels Guide To Fleet Week In San Francisco

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The 32nd Fleet Week in San Francisco arrives by air and sea for five days of living legends. Performers, both military and civilian, will demonstrate breathtaking, life-saving skills and patriotism with aerobatic shows. In addition, there will be a set of sailing ships marching with the Italian Heritage parade for Columbus Day.

Just look up and you might see the Navy’s Blue Angels, a civilian team called the Patriots Jet Team or one of the bi-plane aerobatic stars. Gaze across the bay and it’s the US Coast Guard performing a rescue by helicopter. Watch a parade of ships and enjoy a free ship tour. Stand by for the Italian Heritage parade for Columbus Day along Fisherman’s Wharf then walk up Columbus Avenue to North Beach and end at Washington Square for a Ferrari car show.

Fleet Week Air Show
Marina Green Park
3950 Scott St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(650) 599-5057
Dates: October 4-8, 2012
Price: Free to the public; Reserved seating $15–$37.50 or $40 at the door, children under four free; Flight Deck Club ($120 to $125 a day) with a full buffet and drinks. For tickets, click here.

See the heights Americans have reached at the 32nd Fleet Week, which demonstrates historic to contemporary and civilian to military sea and air talents. Naval aviation began with bi-plane pilot Ely in 1911 flying from San Bruno to land on the carrier USS Pennsylvania on San Francisco Bay before an audience. The 2012 show pays tribute and features bi-plane agility and beyond with the Heritage Flight, Marine Corp MV-22 Demo, Lucas Oil Air Show with the Pitts bi-plane flown by pilot Michael Wiskus, Wargaming T-33, the Royal Canadian Air Force F-18 Demo, The Patriots Jet Team, a United Airlines 747, the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo and Team Oracle bi-plane aerobatics. 

Related video: Military Hovercraft Lands On SF’s Ocean beach For Fleet Week

The Blue Angels have proven athletic ability through track and field, downhill skiing, football, basketball, ice hockey and soccer and earned degrees in aerospace engineering or other sciences. The military careers include medals and TOPGUN schooling in Nevada where flight leader Greg McWherter taught. Captain Brandon Cordill comes from Hemet, California and this year many will travel from all across the nation. Read more about the Blue Angels here.

Related: Check out this video of the Blue Angels arriving at SFO.

The Patriots Jet Team comes from Byron, near San Francisco. Leader Randy “Howler” Howell created a civilian aerobatic team of six pilots who have flown with the US Navy, US Air Force and Royal Canadian Snowbirds. Flying in formation, you will see Dean “Wilbur” Wright, Rob “Stache” Hutchison, John “Bordz” Posson, Paul “Sticky” Strickland and others. Read more about the Patriots Jet Team here

Mike Wiskus performs civilian aerobatics in a bi-plane. He’s from Iowa and started flying as a teenager. Since then, he has been teaching aerobatics. He’s married to Tammy and they have four children and two golden retrievers.Team Oracle stars civilian bi-plane pilot Sean D. Tucker, a living legend of aviation who teaches safety and aerobatics at his school, the Tutima Academy. He flies a special bi-plane created by northern California’s Oracle.

Related: Complete Fleet Week Events Listings

150808015 8 Guide To Fleet Week In San Francisco
America’s Cup World Series
October 3-7, 2012
Marina Green, San Francisco
www.americascup.comCome to the gorgeous Marina Green to enjoy the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco during Fleet Week. Check our world class sailing in a world class location. The America’s Cup Village is free and open to the public October 2-7 from 10am to 7pm. Ticketed seating for the event will be available for race days from October 3-7 in bleachers located on the peninsula near Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Tickets are on sale now, $40-$125. You can purchase seating here.

Italian Heritage Parade for Columbus Day
Foot of Jefferson and Stockton Streets at Fisherman’s Wharf
South through North Beach on Columbus Avenue to Washington Square
(415) 703-9888

Date: October 7, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.

The Italian Heritage Parade provides a day full of Italian musicians, performance artists and celebrities destined for Washington Square Park in the heart of North Beach. Additional events include a Ferrari car show. Take part in open-air dining, wine and food specials along the way as you watch the hand-crafted floats.

Cindy Warner is a freelance writer and a San Francisco Bay Area native. Cindy has covered SF theater and opera for via her bicycle since January 2009. Check out her work on

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