Happy Tuesday Everyone!
I still can’t believe I got to fly with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. I know I have plenty of GoPro footage and pictures, but sometimes it feels unreal. Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the Blue Angels and everything they stood for. Tuesday, September 6, 2016, my wildest dreams came true when I got to ride in the backseat of an F/A 18 Hornet. This was an incredible honor since very few people are chosen.
Here’s the story I did on my wild ride with Blue Angel #7 Lt. Tyler Davies.
Before I could get up in the air, I needed some training. The #7 Crew Chief Josh Wilborne taught us the HIC maneuver, which keeps blood in the heart and brain when you’re pulling G’s. What is extremely impressive about the Blue Angels is they don’t wear G-suits, which help pilots handle the extreme forces of gravity when they are flying. Since Blue Angels pilots fly extremely close together and the 40-pound control stick is mounted between their legs, pilots rest their right arms on their thighs for support and stability when flying. An inflating G-suit would interrupt the support and cause the pilot’s hand to move, which would move the fighter. I also signed my life away, but I wasn’t worried since Lt. Davies has more than 1,200 flight hours. Knowing that, I zipped up my flight suit and got in the backseat of Jet #7.
On takeoff alone, I handled nearly 6 G’s when Lt. Davies pulled the command stick all the way into his lap, making the jet go straight up. Over the ocean, he took me through a couple of tricks including two 360s in both directions (I really enjoyed these! Must be the figure skater in me), flying upside down, feeling negative G’s and of course when he pushed me to handle as many G’s possible. I got to 7.1, which he says is impressive without a G-suit. I remember toward the beginning of our flight Lt. Davies asked me to look outside over the ocean and tell him how fast we were going. It felt like we were crawling, but we were going at least 300 mph! Despite all my efforts doing the hic maneuver, I did pass out for about 30 seconds. I remember even having a small dream! When I came to, I remember saying Tyler asking “How do you feel? Sleepy?” he chuckled at my response and said, “Oh wow.” I’m sure he was being nice. After passing out, I really wasn’t the same. I felt extremely sleepy and had a really hard time shaking the feeling. It even took me a while to see color since the oxygen had drained from my eyes. I remember looking at the HUD and knowing I should see neon green but didn’t. I really wish we could have broken the sound barrier, but I wasn’t feeling well, so Lt. Davies took it easy. It was on the way back I handled 7.1 G’s on the carrier break.
I’ve always had so much respect for our military and pilots, but now even more so. Lt. Davies gave three people flights Tuesday and was perfectly fine – while I wasn’t really the same for the rest of the day. Every time I hear a jet overhead, I feel so much admiration, respect and pride for pilots and all those who play a part in making sure things go without a hitch. Here’s a timelapse of my ride featuring the highlights, if you’d like to see.