HIGHT TO FLY WITH BLUE ANGELS
Thu, 2007-03-01 15:18
POWERade points leader Robert Hight, who’s been figuratively flying this season at the wheel of the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, gets to go literal Friday when he climbs in the cockpit of a F/A-18 Hornet, one of the aircraft used by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels precision flying team.
Hight will fly out of the Naval Air Facility at El Centro, Calif., the team’s pre-season training facility.
Among the maneuvers for which the elite team is best known are the four-plane Diamond Formation, enhanced by the individual maneuvers of two solo pilots, and the six-plane Delta Formation.
Although the Blue Angels are stationed at Forrest Sherman Field NAS in Pensacola, Fla., the squadron trains from January through March in El Centro.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly 66 air shows at 34 air show sites during the 2006 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 originally was to have flown with the team last season, but scheduling conflicts forced a postponment. The 37-year-old native Californian 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.