...as are the pilots who fly here it seems.
If you aren’t familiar with the Seattle area... it’s best to start with a map:
While the city of Seattle is on the left side of the map, the ‘East side’ (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, etc) rests on the right, separating them is Lake Washington over which run a pair of relatively narrow highways (I-90 & SR-520).
Every summer the city of Seattle has it’s summer fair known as Seafair, part of which often involves an air show over Lake Washington.
This evening while looking for dates of when the Blue Angels would be performing this year, I noticed a Bridge Closure Information link which lead to a page which amongst other things said:
By closing I-90, WSDOT is complying with Federal Aviation Administration rules to create a safer environment for drivers and Blue Angels pilots by reducing distractions to both.
This paragraph got me wondering... exactly what sort of distractions is WSDOT claiming that the FAA is claiming that the pilots may be subjected to? Do they honestly think that some cars driving or people waving from below will throw the aircraft off course?
Furthermore... are we being told that Seattle area drivers are such lousy drivers that the sight of an airplane flying by might cause traffic accidents?
Actually... lemme answer that last one real quick... are Seattle drivers bad? Yes.
Worse than Minnesota drivers? Ehhh... yes... but mostly because Seattle drivers do not understand how to drive on surfaces with reduced traction (rain, snow or ice).
Are Seattle drivers so bad that a low flying airplane would cause them to get into a road accident? Perhaps... but I’d expect these are the same drivers that are distracted by the existence of other cars on the road, billboards, pedestrians and traffic signs and lights.
In either case... it’s always sad to to see the nanny state at work... though since it’s already working so hard, perhaps we must consider the possibility that even these restrictions may not be enough. Perhaps the city should take the next logical step to ban all boats and swimmers from the area during such flights... after all, just imagine the shock to a swimmer at seeing a loud aircraft fly over head could do to their concentration!