World of Outlaws Champ Jason Meyers Soars with U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Californian hangs tough in F/A-18 Hornet during high-speed maneuvers at nearly 7.5 G’s
EL CENTRO, Calif. – March 2, 2011 – Jason Meyers fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2010 when he clinched his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship by dominating the World Finals in Charlotte. On Tuesday morning in a southern desert in his native California, Meyers turned another dream into reality by taking flight with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
(Click here for a gallery of pictures from Jason Meyers’ experience with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels)
Following a briefing by crew chief David Pascual, pilot Lt. Dave Tickle took Meyers through a series of maneuvers at unimaginable speed during a 45-minute flight in an F/A-18 Hornet above Naval Air Facility El Centro, the winter training home for the Blue Angels. They shot nearly straight up in the air at takeoff, performed a number of rolls, flew threw a canyon and made turns that generated nearly 7.5 G’s.
“I knew coming into it would be a chance of a lifetime, but I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Meyers, the first Californian to win the World of Outlaws championship. “The opportunity to not only get to fly with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels but to have our team involved with it and have all our sponsors come out and do something like this is really neat. I’ve never had the opportunity to be involved in the service or the military and to see what these guys do and what they stand for, and the commitment they have for everything they do, it’s really pretty special. This is really incredible. It’s something I’ll always remember.
“I am kind of anxious to see the video from the in-flight camera. I can’t imagine it looks too appealing. It’s something else when they pull those maneuvers. The force you feel on your body is incredible. It’s certainly the toughest workout I’ve ever had. I’m in the gym almost every day but still, that was pretty grueling to see what they go through and they do it six days a week. It takes a very strong commitment from those pilots.”
Lt. Tickle was impressed by Meyers’ endurance considering the maneuvers the two performed.
“He was a good sport, I think his training as a race car driver served him well today,” Lt. Tickle said. “My goal was to show him the maximum performance of the Hornet. He did phenomenal, he was loving it the whole time.”
The organization and discipline of the Blue Angels pilots and support crew was clearly on display throughout the day, and was a reminder for Meyers and his Elite Racing Team of what it took to win the crown in 2010.
“It was really cool to bring our team here,” said Meyers, who will be looking to repeat his 2010 winning performance with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series on Wednesday and Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “We really work on our teamwork, and being very organized and consistent. It shows on the racetrack, and that’s proven in winning the championship last year. You come here and it’s reinforced by something like this, by seeing how they do it, how it’s so systematic, how repetition makes it second nature in how they work. What I take away from here more than anything is to meet these pilots and maintenance team and see the pride they have in what they do, it’s incredible. It was really neat to have the team here, too, because it’s really inspiring.”
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. Their mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and serve as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Since their inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 463 million fans.