April 14, 2009 was a VERY windy day. It was blowing 280 at 48 sustained. At times it the wind got up to 55 to 58 knots steady. The gusts hit 65 knots. The control tower was swaying gently back and forth. The roar of the wind was loud inside the tower.
British Airways ("Speedbird") was rocking as they were on short final. Virgin America ("Redwood") began their takeoff roll. Look at the whitecaps on the Bay!
Redwood rotates really quickly. With a 50 knot headwind their speed over the runway is only about 100 knots.
Redwood jumps into the air, climbing like a kite as Speedbird flares just a couple of feet above the runway.
Speedbird slows to turn off the runway as a 65 knot gust passes just north of the airport.
Speedbird turned off the runway onto taxiway Echo to wait for departing traffic. Notice the windsock at the left edge of the photo. It is straight as a board.