CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago’s Air and Water Show is this weekend, and ahead of the popular summer event, ABC7’s Jesse Kirsch took to the sky with some of the best: The U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
“My head might still be spinning after almost an hour aboard Blue Angel #7,” Kirsch said.
Kirsch takes us along as he experiences breathtaking panoramas and acrobatics so intense, he says it’s “beyond words.”
ABC7’s Jesse Kirsch get a few tips before taking on G Forces with Blue Angel #7
The flight is all thanks to Lieutenant Julius Bratton, whose sign is “Whiskers” because he’s “curious like a cat.”
“I took you through just about everything you can do in a jet,” Lt. Bratton said.
The acrobatic crew is known for their loops and rolls, especially one maneuver that puts the jets just 18 inches apart.
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The moves are part of their performance that will look incredible from the Chicago lakefront, but what you definitely can’t see or feel on the ground are what Kirsch politely calls the “mind-numbing G forces” that are felt in the cockpit as the fighter jet accelerates in new directions.
Think of Gs as supercharged gravity, making your body feel really heavy and making it tough for your heart to pump blood to the brain.
Jordan Walls, #7’s crew chief, gave Kirsch a quick lesson, teaching him special breathing techniques which include flexing his leg core and neck muscles to help him stay awake during the ride.
He was even prepared for what the Blue Angels call the “bonus ride,” in case they needed to eject – which, luckily, didn’t happen.
Strapped in from ankle to shoulder with ‘more room than coach,” Kirsch joked, he was able to monitor his flight to see how fast they were going and how many Gs they pulled.
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“I’m a little kid again,” he said.
At one point, for about 20 seconds, he even experienced zero-G, which is the weightlessness of space.
“That is so cool,” said Kirsch.
They also hit .95 mach as they approached the speed of sound, making the next part a blur, he said.
Barely slowing down, they then pull straight up on a max performance climb before Whiskers sneaks into vertical rolls.
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At max speed, they felt 7.5 times the force of gravity.
While Kirsch barely held on from passing out, Whiskers incredibly kept flying the jet under those same pressures.
This year the Blue Angels are celebrating their 75th anniversary of stunning audiences, but what’s new in 2021 is seeing them flying an FA-18 Super Hornet along the Chicago lakefront.
Whiskers said the newer jets have more powerful engines and can travel farther.
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“The aircraft is larger, so it may appear more in your face — because it appears that way, you may feel the power, but it is largely the same routine,” Whiskers said.
They are also including moves like the max performance turn, which once again, pushes the fighter jet to the limit.
Despite a wild ride, Kirsch said he not only kept his lunch down, but also managed to stay awake the entire time.
“We condensed ‘Soaring Wildcat’ to ‘Soar Cat,’ which seems fitting when riding along with ‘Whiskers.'” Kirsch said.
‘Soar Cat’: ABC7’s Jesse Kirsch claims new nickname for Blue Angels ride-along
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Source by abc7chicago.com