From The Classroom To The Wild Blue Yonder

Their everyday profession is education, their dream come true was a ride with the Blue Angels.

The precision skills of the Navy's Blue Angels will be on display at Offutt Air Force Base Saturday July 19 and Sunday July 20 during the Defenders of Freedom Airshow.

Beate Schmittmann who is Dean of Liberal Arts at Iowa State University and Joe Mlarnik, a counselor at Millard South High School were both selected for a Blue Angels ride along.

"This has been a wish of mine for many years," said Schmittmann in an interview with WOWT 6 News.

"For me it's a trip of a lifetime," added Mlarnik, who was the first to go up.

From the explosive ninety degree takeoff, to the 7-Gs finish, both
riders were pushed to the edge.

Included in the maneuvers performed by Lt Ryan Chamberlain were slow 360 degree rolls, snap rolls, inverted flying, and a weightless fall.

"He's an amazing pilot," said Mlarnik. "I was never scared, I just wish I had more to eat to settle my stomach."

Within arms reach in the passenger seat is a supply of plastic bags that were used for relief by both rookie riders.

"It was really good," said Schmittmann. "I enjoyed the slow rolls and upside down flight. But my stomach was unsettled and I got a little sick."

Each rider was in the air forty-five minutes and the maneuvers took place southwest of Lincoln.

"It took about six minutes to reach Lincoln at 700 miles an hour," said Lt Chamberlain. "Both riders did great. We let them decide just how far they want to push it."

There was one more rider.

This reporter's experience will air on WOWT 6 News Sunday night on Ten at Ten. Whether a relief bag had to be used during that flight will be addressed at that time.


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