You don’t often get to see an airliner maneuvering at low level. They tend to be up and away or approaching to land in a stable configuration. Each year at Fleet Week, united bring one of their airliners as part of the air show and it gets to be thrown around the bay, if not with abandon, at least with more vigor than is the norm for an airliner. In the past, the 747 has been the display aircraft of choice. Since I have been here, they have been using the 757.
The bay provides a nice backdrop for any display but one that uses a big airplane is well suited to the area since they have to maintain a reasonable distance from the shore at all times unless they are climbing out over the crowd. A combination of clean passes and gear and flaps deployed passes made for some good variety and some aggressive climb outs at high power and low weight were nice. Watching the plane turn over the Marin side of the bay was also pretty cool.
This may not be the most dynamic of air show performances but it has a novelty factor that makes it worth seeing and it certainly brought some variety to the show on the day. I’m just glad I got to see it this year. Last year they displayed on the day I was there but the low cloud base meant that we mainly heard them above the clouds but saw very little.