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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingFor most of us the closest we'll get to those aerobatic planes is the view from the ground. But our Doctor Kim Mulvihill was lucky enough to hitch a ride with the Blue Angels and tells her story here.
This was without a doubt the most strenuous thing I've ever done. I have a new appreciation for how physically fit these pilots have to be.
You hear them from miles away and rush to catch a glimpse of the precision maneuvers. It’s the blue angels performing death-defying feats merely inches apart from one another.
After filling up with fuel and double-checking all the equipment it's time to climb aboard. Lieutenant Craig Olson, also known as Merlin or Number Seven, assures me a memorable ride.
More protocol, more checks and we're good to go. Fast down the runway, then whoa, a sharp 45-degree climb to 15-thousand feet.
At this point it's quite relaxed, like merging fast onto the freeway. Then we start maneuvers, and we start easy.
First a diamond inron roll. Doing a loop like a ferris wheel high in the sky we hit 4.5 G’s. That's four and a half times my weight pushing against my chest. Rhythmic straining keeps the blood flowing to my brain.
We head to the Faralon Islands and get a close look, upside down. Picking up speed we go super sonic – mach one. That's over seven hundred miles an hour.
Flying above the coastal fog the view was spectacular, but close to home I found the last turn a real doozy. First I lost peripheral vision, then color, then things went black.
Lieutenant Craig Olson, Blue Angels, "We were coming here to the break to land, about a 7G maneuver, and as I just kinda watching you I could see that your head dropped down and that's when I knew that you might have taken a little nap on me. It wasn't long and you were right back with me for the landing. So it happens all the time."
I didn't get sick until we touched down. I like to think I had the full experience, the ride of a lifetime. A ride that never gets routine for Lieutenant Craig Olson.
Lieutenant Craig Olson, Blue Angels: "I'm one of those guys that literally is just living his dream. You know I love the flying everyday. I love going to work every day and I've wanted to do this job since I was a young boy. And I'm just lucky enough to be doing it, so I count my blessings every day."
The blue angels make it look easy, but it's physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I was just along for the ride.
The ride was incredible and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But I sure was sore afterwards. It felt like I'd run a marathon in 45 minutes. So how does it compare to childbirth? I'd say it's harder.