Jimmy Spithill sat in a briefing unlike anything else he’s experienced.
“If the pilot says, ‘Eject, eject, eject,’ lean your head back in the seat, cross your hands across your chest, look upwards and on the third eject, the seat will fire.”
He also practiced the technique to deal with blood rushing from head to foot, and foot to head, to avoid blacking out.
An hour later, Spithill was strapped into one of the U.S. Navy’s blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornets ready to fly with the elite Blue Angels.
For an excitement junkie like Spithill, this was The Big One.
From takeoff roll to full afterburner vertical climb, 7,000 feet came up in a flash. And then came the high-G moves.
“That was sick,” said Spithill, as Navy Lt. Mark Tedrow turned, rolled and looped the agile fast jet through a string a maneuvers in 45 incredible minutes.
“How do you top that?” he said. “A rocket?”
The ride with the Blue Angels at US Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar near San Diego, Calif., followed last week’s visit by the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron to San Francisco’s Fleet Week. ORACLE TEAM USA hosted some of the Blue Angels and took their flight surgeon, Navy Lt. Jason Smith, for his own back seat ride on Spithill’s AC45.
The quest for precision and perfection was evident in everything the Blue Angels did.
“It was very impressive to see,” Spithill said.