Elisa Amigo, Ohioans Fly with Blue Angels

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland National Air Show is in town and that means Blue Angels are soaring high in the sky.

This week, two men from Northeast Ohio experienced a once-in-a lifetime flight with the Blue Angels.

A few months ago, Iwan Alexander and Jim Kubacki received nominations for the "Key Influencer Program" because of their work with youth in Northeast Ohio.

FOX 8's Elisa Amigo was the only reporter to land a coveted media ride.

Earlier this week, she spent about 45 minutes flying on an F-A 18 Hornet Jet, pulling 6.2 G's upon takeoff.

Iwan Alexander said, "I was very excited and somewhat very nervous."

Alexander is a professor at Case Western Reserve University and is the chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

"We have sent a number of students who have chosen to join the Navy and some in the nuclear program," he explained.

Jim Kubacki is the president of St. Ed's High School in Lakewood.

"One of our alums who is with the program put my name in. It's quite an honor," said Kubacki.

During the briefing session, Crew Chief Daniel Pascual demonstrated breathing techniques to prevent the riders from passing out.

"You're squeezing your muscles to the point your blood isn't free-flowing, it's controlled," said Pascual.

The pilot, Lt. Mark Tedrow, is based out of Pensacola, Florida. Eight years after he joined the Navy, he's spent the last year training with the Blue Angels.

"The number seven year on a job now is a first year job so the next two years, I'll be in the demonstration. This year I'm a narrator for the show," said Tedrow.

During the flight, Tedrow completed many of the same maneuvers that will be demonstrated at the Air Show.

"We did some slow speed flights, high-speed flights, vertical maneuvers, looping, rolling maneuvers, you name it," said Tedrow. "Usually one or two people get sick or have problems with the 'G' forces but today everyone was great. No one had problems or got sick so we were full up."

"It's amazing that first takeoff is 5.7. You take off, then just go up," said Kubacki.

"I was sort of huffing and puffing trying to keep my blood up in my head pulling the G's it seemed to be effortless for them," said Alexander. "The whole thing is impressive. The aircraft is impressive and pilots are quite amazing."

"If every American had the professionalism and set of standards these guys had, this country would be awesome for the next thousand years," said Kubacki.

*Click here for more information about the Cleveland National Air Show...

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