LEMOORE, Calif. (FOX26) — This weekend, Naval Air Station Lemoore will be hosting an air show for the first time in eight years.
The feature presentation will be the Blue Angels flying in formation, spinning and swirling through the skies.
FOX26 News reporter Marie Edinger was the only reporter from the Central Valley to get to fly with the Blue Angels as they did practice runs Wednesday.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like, Marie gives you an exclusive look into the experience below:
As we started the flight, I was optimistic.
News photographer Bert Montelongo captured proof of me smiling before we took off. He made sure to film every moment of the flight, from the safety of the ground.
I’m in good hands, great hands even! The pilot I was with has clocked more that 1,400 flight hours.
Lieutenant Commander Cary Rickoff is one of seven Blue Angel pilots in the world right now, representing 800,00 sailors and marines.
“Our entire goal is to inspire a culture of excellence and service to country, whether that’s through military service or through your local region – just doing something to make the world around you a better place,” Rickoff said.
I got multiple debriefings and pressure suit training, prepping me to withstand the G-forces during the flight.
You have to flex your abs, thighs, glues and calves, take half a breath in, and hold it while making a “HUT!” sound.
“It’s a bit of an athletic event. We’re gonna pull some G’s, you’re gonna have to flex your muscles to stay warm, and about 45 minutes of it, it’ll be pretty tiring. But that’s why we stay on top of it through exercise, physical fitness,” explained Rickhoff.
Let me make this clear, I am not the adventurous type.
I am not a speed demon — I don’t like rollercoasters.
Next Rickoff asked me that dreaded question, “Ready to go upside down?”
I was not ready.
“There is negative 1G. Alright, so I’m gonna push the nose of the jet up and roll us back upright. You’ll feel a little bit more push. And there we go.”
Moments later was the first of two occasions I reached for the barf bag the Blue Angels so generously provided.
The second was after we got as close as possible to breaking the sound barrier without doing so — going faster than 700-miles-per-hour.
Rickhoff told me that I should be able to relax now.
Shortly after that, I relaxed too much.
I went unconscious for about seven seconds before I wake up and look around, entirely confused as to where I am.
That was around 40 minutes into the flight, I was about done after that.
Earlier in the day, I’d asked Lieutenant Commander Cary Rickoff what he’d want people reading this to know.
“We’re normal people!” he said.
I’m going to stop him right there, that just is not true.
Or at least, he and I have vastly different views on the word “normal.”
But I get what he means.
“That’s the biggest thing I could say. We come from the fleet, we come back to the fleet. We’re a normal Naval pilot or normal Naval maintainer, just in a blue flight suit. And once our time is up here, we go back and carry on the tradition.”
The Blue Angels will fly over Naval Air Station Lemoore around 3 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday.
Doors to the air show open at 7 am, and events start at 10.