Earlier this month I had the privilege of flying with the Navy’s precision flying team –The Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels were performing in Biloxi that weekend, for the first time in over 30 years. I was invited to go up on one of the practice runs.
To say that it was a thrill of a lifetime, would probably be an understatement. These guys are known for wowing the crowds. We’re talking speeds of about 360 miles per hour, at 27,000 feet. It isn’t just straight-line flying either. There are all sorts of twists and turns.
I didn’t fly on one of the Hornets, instead I rode on Fat Albert. It’s a C-130T aircraft, responsible for carrying maintenance/support support crew, their gear, spare parts and communication equipment for the air show.
I arrived at Keesler Air Force Base at 12:45 p.m. It was my first time ever being on a military base. I thought very carefully about what I would wear. But I missed the mark when it came to my shoes.
Lucky for me, a Navy Specialists’ wife offered to take me to the PX, Air Force Exchange, so I could get some proper shoes. Thanks Tina! You’re the best.
It took about three hours of “briefing” before we went airborne. The entire flight was close to two minutes. It reminded me of some of the rides at Cedar Point .
At one point you’re climbing up into the air, at a 45-degree angle, then once the plane propels to an altitude of 1,000 feet it quickly levels off. Because there’s little force –you experience a sort of free fall or weightlessness — much like you would when you go over the top of a hill on a roller coaster.
During my flight one of the guys did a back flip and his boot hit me in the head. But I was more hurt by the fact that I didn’t go floating up in the air.
It’s not for the faint of heart. But I have always been somewhat of a daring individual: bungie jumping in Cancun, rock climbing/jumping and swimming into sea caves off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.
If you haven’t experienced a Blue Angels air show, you should definitely check it out. I know after this experience I’ll never look at another air show the same. These guys put so much effort and practice into what they do. It’s incredible. They have to have the maneuvers down to a science.
To My seven Angels thanks for taking such good care of me and allowing me to go on a flight of a lifetime.