A chance of a lifetime for Ross Vezin wasn’t feeling like a great life decision Tuesday night.
The Port Royal resident and lieutenant with the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department was invited to fly in an F/A-18 Hornet, one of the U.S. Navy’s iconic Blue Angels, on Wednesday. The No. 7 jet was in town earlier than the rest of the demonstration team ahead of the MCAS Beaufort Air Show, which will be Saturday and Sunday at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
“I think I made the ultimate mistake and watched YouTube vidoes on it the night before and kind of freaked myself out,” Vezin said. “Once I saw the plane and the pilot, I was pumped up and excited.”
Before the flight, Vezin was taught how to properly flex muscles to handle the G-force and keep from blacking out, including imagining squeezing a beach ball between his legs. But there were a couple times he felt he lost it, including during a turn Vezin said was 7 1/2 Gs.
He came to with pilot Lt. Brandon Hempler calling his name.
The rest of us will have to experience the thrill from the ground this weekend.
Additional noise overhead this week was the sound of the MCAS Beaufort Air Show preparations.
Flights of the F-35B picked up this week to rehearse for the air show. The remaining Blue Angels were set to arrive at the air station on Thursday.
Admission and parking is free for the general viewing area, and tickets are for sale for more premium seating. The air station gates open for the air show at 9 a.m., with opening ceremonies at 11:15 a.m.
The Blue Angels will perform at 3 p.m. each day, the final act both days. The demonstration team of F/A 18 Hornets performs in a four-jet “diamond” formation and six-jet “delta” formation in addition to other precision maneuvers.
A 15-minute F-35B demonstration is planned for 2:25 p.m., and the Geico Skytypers fly at 2:40 p.m.
The schedule also includes an F-16 flight team performance, a parachute jump, several individual stunt pilots and the Parris Island Marine Band.
An area for kids will include more than 20 bounce houses and a mural children can color. Those tall enough can try two inflatable obstacle courses and large slides. The area is open to children ages 3 to 12 and costs $10.
There is also fun for adults with some extra cash.
Rides will be offered in UH-1H Huey and AH-1F Cobra military helicopters. The Huey is $85 for 6-8 minutes. The Cobra is $350 for about 10 minutes or $550 for up to 15 minutes.