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Carson High School Teachers Ride With Blue Angels At Aviation Roundup

A US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet carrying cleveland.com reporter Hannah Drown banks hard over Burke Lakefront airport during her media ride

This weekend, the Minden Tahoe Airport is hosting its annual Aviation Roundup. The event features 11 civilian acts above the Carson Valley skies, including the highly anticipated U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

This weekend, the Minden Tahoe Airport is hosting its annual Aviation Roundup. The event features 11 civilian acts above the Carson Valley skies, including the highly anticipated U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

“We travel around the U.S. and other parts of the world sometimes to showcase the pride and professionalism of Navy and Marine Corp and to let the folks who don’t get to see what we do every day see a little part of naval aviation,” says Andre Webb, Blue Angel #7.

Minden Tahoe Airport Director Bobbi Thompson says the Blue Angels coming to Douglas County is special for such a small town.

“If you look at the Blue Angels schedule, the 33 cities that they visit, you’ll find that Minden is the smallest but that makes it better,” says Thompson. “You can meet the pilots, you can meet the teams, you can talk to them, and they get out into the community.”

Thompson says there are about 47,000 people who live in the area of Douglas County, and that nearly 40,000 people from about 10 different states will be attending this weekend’s event.

“The airport is 1,000 acres so there’s plenty of room at the airport for all the activity that occurs.”

As part of this year’s event a couple of lucky Carson High School teachers took a ride with the Blue Angels.

For Billy McHenry, flying is in his blood. His uncle was a B24 pilot in World War II who was shot down and killed. His dad was a navigator in the same war. But rather than pursue a similar path, Billy became a high school teacher and ski coach.

“I had some opportunities with both the naval academy and the Air Force coming out of high school and turned out just going to college and not pursuing it,” says McHenry.

On Wednesday, McHenry rewrote a piece of his history as he climbed aboard a Blue Angel aircraft for the first time.

“It’s actually reignited some of the passions I had for aviation when I was younger.”

Billy, along with another Carson High School teacher were each selected to take this once in a lifetime flight. Matt Morgan says the ride itself was tougher than it looks.

“Every little movement you can feel, every turn you can feel and the amount of power in those jets is out of control,” says Morgan. “We did a huge loop, a couple of barrel rolls and then I didn’t feel so hot after that.”

You can catch the Blue Angels at the tail end of the Aviation Roundup in Minden this weekend. Doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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