'AWESOME' IS HIGHT'S DESCRIPTION OF FLIGHT WITH NAVY'S BLUE ANGELS EL CENTRO, Calif. -- POWERade points leader Robert Hight enjoyed 30 minutes of seat time in the cockpit of an F/A-18 Hornet Friday as he flew up, over and beyond the El Centro ...
'AWESOME' IS HIGHT'S DESCRIPTION OF FLIGHT WITH NAVY'S BLUE ANGELS
EL CENTRO, Calif. -- POWERade points leader Robert Hight enjoyed 30 minutes of seat time in the cockpit of an F/A-18 Hornet Friday as he flew up, over and beyond the El Centro Naval Air Facility as the guest of Air Force pilot Nathan Miller, who piloted the jet used by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team.
"It was awesome," Hight said. "I didn't know what to expect, but it was a great experience. At one point we were pulling about 7.6 Gs and I just about blacked out. I never got sick and by the end of the trip I was very comfortable in the cockpit JHight said the most exciting part of the trip came when they were flying over the mountains at about 250 feet and were following the terrain as it rose and fell beneath them.
"I'm a pretty mechanical guy so when we were really diving and accelerating over those mountains I was thinking, 'What if we stall or have an engine problem?' We'd have been finished," said the driver of the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustand Funny Car.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly 66 air shows at 34 air show sites during the 2007 season as goodwill ambassadors for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines. The team this year is celebrating its 20th season flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Last season, more than 15 million spectators watched the Blue Angels perform.
Hight's final thoughts about the experience revolved around the mutual respect he and the pilots felt for each other and for their machines.
"Those pilots put so much time and effort into practicing and being the best at what they do. It is really impressive and inspiring. I have nothing but respect for them. Flying with the Blue Angels was something I have always wanted to do and I am just very appreciative that, thanks to the Auto Club, I got the chance of a lifetime," concluded Hight.
Hight originally was to have flown with the team last season, but scheduling conflicts forced a postponement.
The 37-year-old Hight was the winner of the Auto Club's 2005 Road to the Future Award as the NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year. After finishing second in points last season, he leads the standings this year after consecutive runner-up finishes at Pomona, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz.
Hight's Ford Mustang is the quickest full-bodied race car in the world, having accelerated from zero-to-330 miles per hour in 4.636 seconds.