It’s billed as one of the biggest ShrinersFest’s in recent years, and a big reason why – the Navy’s Blue Angels are in town.
You’ve probably seen them flying over downtown Evansville, but you probably haven’t seen them from the cockpit.
Eyewitness News flies with the Blues in a 20 minute flight that brought out a couple of motion sickness bags.
It’s difficult to even describe the feeling you get with negative and positive G-forces pressing against your body as the plane dips and dives.
But for Captain Katie Higgins, it’s all a walk in the park.
“Calm seas don’t make a skilled sailor,” she says. Advice she often gives to little ones.
Her calm seas are clear skies, and full hearts filled with pride.
“It’s such an honor to be able to talk to the next generation that’s going to run this country when I’m old and gray and done with this job.”
Capt. Higgins has been flying Fat Albert – the Blue’s C-130 for 6 months. She proudly wears the Blue and Yellow as the first female pilot in the team’s 70-year history.
“It’s not the easy times in your life that form who you are,” she says, “It’s those difficult times, those obstacles you have to overcome that make you the person that you will be some day.”
She shares the cockpit with Major Dusty Cook, born and raised in East Bernard, Tex. He says he first became interested in flying watch crop dusters fly over his home in the Lone Star State.
He’s a long way from Texas.
Now he’s pushing four engines, a total of 18,000 horsepower, to the limit.
“It’s just insane, so much fun.” Maj. Cook says, “The performance capability of this particular airplane, the paint scheme, and everything else, she goes a little faster.”
So fast, you’re floating in your seat. Literally. As the nose drops, the crew in the cargo bay flips upside down.
“I have a blast every single time. If you don’t have a good time, that’s not my problem,” Maj. Cook says.
After a 20 minute flight several stomachs were left behind, like that of Sergeant First Class Andrew Forrest with the U.S. Army. He’s stationed in Evansville and got a ride on Bert.
“I’ve not experienced a ride like this,” Sfc. Forrest says, “It was exciting, scary, and everything else.
Together, Capt. Higgins and Maj. Cook combine power and precision.“
Six Flags don’t have anything on this!” Sfc. Forrest says.
Leaving the rest of us holding on for dear life.
“Try to be excellent at what you do, find your passion, do what makes you happy,” says Maj. Cook.
Sfc. Forrest says his stomach may still be in the skies. “I’m still shaking. I can feel my insides just going and stuff, and my lunch is still there!”
“You’re just gonna love doing it.”