I'm not much of a thrill seeker so when the station presented me the opportunity to fly with the Blue Angels, I said yes because of the opportunity. After all, how many of you reading this article have been in a jet going 6.2 Gs?
The day starts with the training. The most important lesson is how to breathe once the jet starts putting on the G-Force. No can can do the Hick Maneuver and look good, as you see from the video, but it prevents you from passing out and I did it well. One of my goals was to not pass out and I'm proud I was awake the entire one hour flight.
Once I climbed into the F-18 Hornet I was told what I couldn't touch. There are four different ways to eject out of the back seat and all are marked with brown and yellow colors. It's a little unnerving realizing I had that kind of power and also wondering, "Well, where do I put my hands?" The ejection latches are right, left, beneath and in front of me. My trainer Sargent Storm says, "Brown and yellow will kill a fellow." So I kept my hands on my lap or on the side bars.
The question I get asked the most is did I throw up? I did not and I'm really happy I accomplished my second goal. I did learn that the people who do throw up on the flights are sensitive to movement or may even have a mild case of motion sickness.
It's indescribable what the movement feels like, the pressure on your body, and the split second turns. These movements affect people differently and the Blue Angels have plenty of "bags" in the cockpit if someone has to throw up. The person who went before me threw up four times. It's not about being strong or tough, it's how your body is wired to motion.
It's a once in a lifetime experience and I will never forget it. I'm blessed to have the job I do, and the opportunities it provides.
If you want to see my pictures from the flight, visit Anthony's Facebook page.
For more on the Wings Over Houston Airshow, visit wingsoverhouston.com.