The Blue Angels had an addition to its crew when it flew a demonstration flight for Navy Week. The vice president for university relations of the Florida State University, Lee Hinkle, flew aboard a Boeing F/A-18 Hornet during the demo flight that the Blue Angels – the Flight Demonstration Team of the United States Navy – flew at the McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, according to a feature on Tallahassee.com.
Hinkle applied to be part of a Blue Angels flight two years ago. In December she learned that her application had been approved.
Not everything that will happen during this flight, however, will be a surprise for Hinkle. The article mentioned how she rode on the jump seat of a Chinook helicopter for a tour of the Big Bend, so she already has an idea about what she is getting into.
Hinkle was quoted in the article: “I love flying and I’ve always admired the Blue Angels. I figure I’m going to have to be a quick study when I get down to Tampa. If other people can do this, so can I.”
There are seven planes that will take to the skies for the demonstration, and on board jet no. 2, manning the cockpit, is an FSU graduate – US Navy Lt. Jim Tomaszeski. Tomaszeski, who was a creative writing major at FSU, is believed to be the first FSU graduate to become a member of the Blue Angels.
One of the people who is supporting Hinkle in this effort is Scott Atwell, the president and CEO of the FSU Alumni Association, who said that despite the fact that Hinkle is being teased about possibly needing an airsick bag during the flight, she is “incredibly ready”.