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July 18, 2012 05:05 PM

A Flight With The Blue Angels

Sioux Falls, SD

This weekend the Sioux Falls Airshow will take over Joe Foss Field with nearly 60 air performances. Everything from bi-planes to B-2 Stealth bombers will be over the skies of southeast South Dakota.

One of the highlight performances is the Navy's Blue Angels. Keloland's Austin Hoffman had the opportunity to fly with one of the pilots to see just what kind of stress their bodies have to endure and the performance capabilities of the plane.

It only takes seconds to get from the ground to 3,000 feet in the air. The view is unbelievable and it feels like nothing you'll ever experience.

The pressure inside the cockpit is equal to about four times the force of gravity.

"We take a little bit of a beating in the aircraft and that’s why we have a pretty strenuous physical regimen that we have to go through on a weekly basis to stay fit so that we can fly these things every day," Lt. Mark Tedrow said.

Hoffman had the rare opportunity to join a Blue Angels pilot in the skies over Sioux Falls.

Getting prepared for that flight was an experience in itself. Augustana math professor, Tim Sorenson, also took a ride.

"It was a workout. You have to be in top shape. Those pilots are real professionals," Sorenson said.

Sorensen was selected for the flight because he's encouraged many of his students to choose military careers.

Hoffman was selected to share the experience with you. It was something he will never forget.

The $28 million F-18 can hit mach 1.8 at altitudes upward of 50,000 feet.

"Talk about power, I was totally shocked. The highest G's I pulled was 5.7 for just a short time. The thing is just a monster," Sorenson said.

It takes a skilled pilot to handle one of these planes and Blue Angel pilots are the Navy's best.

"We had about 50 applicants come out for the team this year and we only picked two," Lt. Tedrow said.

They pull off some of the most intricate maneuvers a plane can handle. These are maneuvers that most of us only dream of experiencing.

"Ever since I was 18 years old I've wanted to a Blue Angel. So ever since then I've put it on my to do list and made it one of my goals and now that I'm here doing it, it is definitely a dream come true for me," Lt. Tedrow said.

The Blue Angles and the rest of the Sioux Falls Airshow will be performing Saturday and Sunday at Joe Foss Field.

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