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ST. GEORGE — The United States Navy Blue Angels flying team is performing in a series of air shows over St. George this weekend. It's the group's first visit to southern Utah, and I was lucky enough to join them Wednesday for the flight of a lifetime.
The early morning St. George sunshine danced off the aircraft — and my stomach was doing a dance of its own.
There was a pre-flight training, where we learned how to brace our body and pace our breath to sustain the G force of the ride. Then I suited up for action, taking pride that I at least looked the part, and knowing I was in good hands.
Formed in 1946, the Blue Angels are the oldest formal flying aerobatic team. The Blues fly six F-18 Hornet aircraft. Their high flying tricks, famous diamond formations and detailed dives are crowd favorites, admired from afar by an estimated 11 million people each year.
But on this day, it was all about the up close and personal. Buckles tight. Helmet on. We were off!
The upward vertical takeoff trick turned out to be my favorite part of the ride: After accelerating to 300 knots, we pulled back to about 6 G's, heading 45 degrees up into the sky.
After about 40 minutes of beautiful landscape, some serious speed, and a few screams, we were back on safe ground.
It was so much fun! The scenery was so beautiful, the pilot was so nice. I got a little sick, I'm not going to lie, there were a few moments. But was better than anything you'd get at Disneyland.
The entire Blue Angels team arrived in St. George Wednesday. They have shows planned for Saturday and Sunday at the St. George Municipal Airport. CLICK HERE for ticket information.