BRUNSWICK — Tim Gagnon didn’t sleep much on Sept. 3.
Gagnon was the winner of a lottery to fly with the Blue Angels the next day before the start of the Great State of Maine Air Show.
At a little before 10 the next morning, he strapped into the rear seat of Blue Angel No. 7 with U.S. Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.
Gagnon was hoping to buzz Brunswick High School, where he is the assistant principal. That didn’t happen, but they did pull 7.3 Gs – or more than twice the maximum acceleration force the Space Shuttle experiences during launch and re-entry – on the way back from doing a few rolls and turns over Rangeley.
The air show, back in Brunswick for the first time since 2012, brought the U.S. Navy’s demonstration team, the Blue Angels, among other aviators and planes. It ran through the weekend, drawing tens of thousands of spectators.
“This is the experience of a lifetime, of 10 lifetimes.” Gagnon said. “You can’t buy your way onto this plane.”
Even though the flight was steady, after it was all over, Gagnon had to sit down; his legs were wobbly.
“I’ve flown in some small planes, like Cessnas,” Gagnon said after the flight. “And when you’re up there in those, you’re kind of bouncing around on the wind currents. There was none of that in the (F/A-18 Hornet), it was just smooth.
“I was a little shaky and nauseous, and I never really was able to get my ears to equalize,” he said. “Jeff made it easy for me to get my bearings though, and I didn’t get sick.”
Although he said he thought about it a few times.
“I might recommend some Dramamine for the next person,” Gagnon said.
Tim Gagnon, Brunswick High School assistant principal, joined U.S. Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, pilot of Blue Angel No. 7, in a demonstration flight as part of the Great State of Maine Air Show on Sept. 4.