Sunday, April 12, 2009

A letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

I've got an idea! In these hard times, don't you think we could all save some taxpayer money if you'd cancel the flight of the Blue Angels over San Francisco during Fleet Week in October?

The Chronicle already reports that "the Navy will send only a single ship this year." How about we do away with buzzing the city altogether?

According to the Navy,

On the average, one F/A-18 uses approximately 8,000 pounds or 1,300 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel at a cost of roughly $1,378. ... Over a one-year period, the squadron, including Fat Albert [an accompanying C-130 transport], burns approximately 3.1 million gallons of fuel.

That was in 2003. I find it hard to believe that jet fuel still runs only a little over $1 a gallon. Suppose jet fuel now ranges from somewhere around $2.50 to $5.50 a gallon. We're looking at fuel costs of $7.75 million to $17 million annually for this aviation stunt. That's not on the order of what your administration is spending to bail out Wall Street, but not chump change either. I'm sure you could find something else to do with that money.

And think -- all that CO2 wouldn't be spewing into the atmosphere. That would be nice too. We sometimes complain that the Bay is cold in the summer, but we don't much like being surrounded by forest fires as the planet heats up either.

Besides -- you do know, don't you, that these planes sometimes fall down. Most recently, a Blue Angel crashed in Beaufort, South Carolina in 2007. Eight people on the ground were injured and several houses trashed. It sure doesn't seem smart to be doing the loop-de-loops over a crowded city. At least I don't think so.

I know you've got nothing against the Navy. I mean, you used the Navy today for what it is really good for, rescuing a ship's captain from the Somali pirates. But do you really think you support the Navy by having it show off for civilians?

Instead, aren't you trying to encourage us to do service for our communities? Maybe instead of an air show, we could get people to come out and clean up the shoreline? That would be a good project.

I know you've got a lot on your mind, but really, do we have to have the Navy fly-guys blasting around over San Francisco every year? Isn't this terrible recession year a good time to move beyond the Blue Angels.

Just an idea for a change for the better.

Yours truly,
A concerned San Franciscan


Jane R said...


Kay Dennison said...

I wonder what my daughter the aviation tech sailor would say about this. But it's definitely food for thought.

Nell said...

Go for it, Jan.

Publish the carbon savings of not buzzing the city during Fleet Week.

Publicize the 2007 crash.

Get Tom Tomorrow's permission and spread around his 1991 cartoon (when he was still in SF).

Nell said...

Tom Tomorrow's post after the 2007 crash (which is what leads me to believe he'd grant permission for his work to be used in a campaign, even an informal one, to end this none-too-glorious tradition).

Darlene said...

I think the Blue Angel's air show was originally (and probably still is) a publicity stunt to drum up enlistments in the Navy Air Force.

You're right; it's time to get our priorities in order. A million here and a million there; pretty soon you're talking real money.

flowingwithlife said...

Hope he gets to read it.

Sister Sunshine said...

I've always hated the air & sea show because I felt it was wasteful and too noisy, not to mention dangerous. A former FAA inspector I used to know campaigned against them for most of his career.

I think part of the show is bluster... showing off our prowess so that other countries think twice when they wanna mess with the U.S.

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