TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse area residents will hear the first iconic whistle and roar of a U.S. Navy Blue Angel jet streaming through the skies this week.
The first jet will arrive on Tuesday, prior to the team's performance during the National Cherry Festival. The visiting team, which will consist of seven Boeing F/A-18 Hornet jets and one Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules jet known as "Fat Albert," regularly flew during the festival every other year for the last 20 years.
This will be their first Cherry Festival performance since 2010 because they were booked for a War of 1812 commemoration in 2012.
The Cherry Festival is one of a few times a year that the jets perform over a bay.
"I've been to a lot of airshows in my years and there is not a better place to watch a show because it is (easy to view) because of all the public beach, but it's also a somewhat intimate over-the-water airshow," said Aaron Cook, the assistant air show director and Blue Angel liaison for the National Cherry Festival. "Most of their shows are over an airfield, so most people have to pay a ticket to get in and there are very specific designated spectator areas. With this particular event, it being over water, the viewing opportunities are nearly endless."
The number seven jet will be the first to arrive, with an expected touchdown on Tuesday at around noon. The other seven jets are expected to arrive on Wednesday at around 2 p.m.
The team will take flight again on Thursday.
"They will be doing circle and arrival maneuvers, which is their opportunity to look at terrain," Cook said.
Boating will be restricted on West Grand Traverse Bay Thursday through Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Vessels in the bay will be unable to travel north or south during the Blue Angels performances to keep the area under the show clear.
The jets will do a practice air show during that time on Friday afternoon and then perform in a more official capacity on Saturday and Sunday.
All flights could change pending weather conditions.