Flying high with the Blue Angels

Crew Chief Jared Mann helps me strap in!

The Blue Angels are back in Traverse City for the first time in four years, and I was lucky enough to have the chance to fly with them Wednesday morning.

Flying with the squadron takes a little preparation. First, Crew Chief Jared Mann briefs us on the basics of the plane and the suit.

"Unlike anybody else, the Blue Angels do not wear anti-G suits," Mann said. "So we teach the anti-G strain method".

The method involves tightening your lower body to keep the blood from leaving your head, to prevent passing out.

Next, my pilot, Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, goes over breathing techniques.

We get out gear on, and head out to the hangar and board an F/A 18 Hornet.

Pretty soon, we're ready for takeoff. I'd describe it as the largest rollercoaster I've ever been on.

Chamberlain did several rolls, hung upside down and shot straight up into the air only to freefall. We reached speeds of about 700 miles per hour, and got about 2.5 miles off the ground.

They are all tricks that the Blue Angels will perform in their air show this weekend, along with many others.

The mission of the Navy flight squadron is to show the pride and professionalism of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps through its flights and work with communities.

"We love to be here to represent the Navy and the Marine Corps, we love to go out there and demonstrate what it's all about to be in the military," Mann said. "Maybe we can get some youth to be motivated to join in the future".

The Blue Angels will perform in Traverse City July 5 & 6th for the National Cherry Festival.

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