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John Lamb, Published August 22 2009

Lamb: (Almost) ready to fly with Blue Angels again

I live downtown, across the street from the new apartments built for North Dakota State University students. This means that ever since I could open my windows this spring (which, judging by recent temperatures, ended earlier this month) I’ve had to listen to the sounds of construction every weekday I went home for lunch or tried to sleep in.

That all changed late this week when the Blue Angels effectively drowned out all other sounds as the squadron of fighter planes screamed through Fargo-Moorhead airspace.

It was quite a way to announce the Navy pilots’ presence; though I’m a little offended I didn’t get a phone call in advance. Or a heads-up text. Or even a nice little note delivered by semaphore.

You see, I used to be a Blue Angel. Well, I was two years ago. And it was only for a day. Actually, I was only in uniform for two hours and only an hour of which was in the FA-18. And of that airborne hour, I was only at the controls for a total of maybe three minutes. A lot of the other time I spent trying not to pass out (easier said than done with all the blood rushing to your head at seven times the force acting on a body) and praying we didn’t crash. But co-pilots who pray together should stay together, right?

Maybe my pilot that day didn’t hear me. He never really answered when I asked him what Blue Angels pick-up lines he’d recommend. Instead, he stated the company line, how the Blue Angels were there to aid Navy recruiting and be positive role models.

I didn’t want to be a backseat flier, so I kept quiet. It’s best not to push the issue when you’re pushing against the sound barrier and the man you’re questioning could eject you with the flick of a switch.

Obviously, I survived my flight and lived to tell about how creepy it is to actually see a blackout rolling in – it comes in like a gray curtain over your eyes – and how disorienting it is to fly upside down, and how your body feels like you’re being slammed when you go into a near vertical climb and how … oh, I’m starting to get queasy again.

(Fade to black … and fade back in.)

OK, feeling better now.

So yeah, Blue Angels, call me and we’ll hang out. Maybe we could go “recruiting,” if you know what I mean.

And I’ll tell you what, this time I’ll drive.


If you go

  • What: Fargo AirSho

  • When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday

  • Where: Hector International Airport

  • Info: Tickets are $5 for children ages 7 to 11 ($8 at the gate) and $15 for adults ($20 at the gate). Free admission for children ages 6 and younger.


    Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533