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vagabond 08-02-2006 07:47 PM

Seafair and the Blue Angels
Man, what would I give to take Kathi's (KOMO TV anchor) place in that F-18! 300 kts on the runway. Phew!

SEATTLE - The perennial SeaFair favorites -- the Blue Angels are back in the Northwest.

They're the U.S. Navy's number one recruiters, the precision flying team that travels around the country trying to plant dreams about flying for the Navy one day.

To give you a very real picture of what these pilots do, the Navy invited me up with Blue #7 for the kind of ride you never forget!

When Blue Angel 7 and its pilot Lt. Kevin Davis park at Boeing field, the fun is just beginning.

But taking a ride in that beautiful F-18 Hornet requires a flight briefing first, and a crash course in what to expect when traveling at the speed of sound and pulling G-forces that make it feel like 1,500 pounds is pressing you down -- hard.

"50 percent get sick," said Blue Angel 7 Crew Chief Patrick Palma, "60 percent pass out."

Palma tells us how to avoid G-Lock -- Or gravity-induced lack of consciousness -- and enjoy the ride.

And Lt. Davis -- otherwise known as "Kojak" -- explains that we'll be performing the same maneuvers that all 7 Blue Angels perform just inches apart when they travel around the country, showing their stuff at shows like Seafair.

But even before any of the high performance maneuvers, just taking off in Blue #7 is a show in itself. We were going 300 knots along the runway... then 8,000 feet straight up!

To show what the F-18 is capable of, we fly to the Olympic Peninsula -- which takes a grand total of about 6 minutes.

And there, Kojak and I do some maneuvers like the vertical roll.

The Blue Angels do this every day. And though they make it look easy, believe me, it's not. And while these tricks are fun, the Navy really wants people to know their pilots and their airplanes can do this in real life combat.

The Blue Angels will be practicing Thursday and Friday, then do their full shows Saturday and Sunday over Lake Washington.

fedupbusdriver 08-02-2006 07:59 PM

My tablemate at initial training at Fedex was a 2 time Blue Angels Lead Pilot. He is a very amazing person, and well liked in our crew room. I was AF, but all of his former Navy buds refer to him as "Skipper".

vagabond 08-03-2006 06:58 AM

Thanks, fedup. I would love to meet Skipper one day. Here is one of my favorite Blue Angels pictures. I'd like to do something like that, too!!

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