New York: This Memorial Day Weekend, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels took flight at the annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. On Friday, May 27th, Freeport Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham had the distinct honor and privilege to be one of two civilians from among approximately 332 million Americans to fly in the back of US Navy Blue Angels fighter jet.
Dr. Kuncham qualified for the honor as a Key Influencer selected to participate in the Navy flight demonstration squadron backseat rider program. “I am honored to have been chosen for this unique experience,” Dr. Kuncham said. “It was truly a humbling experience that I will always cherish.”
Before Dr. Kuncham was even allowed to board the aircraft, an F-18F Super Hornet, two-seat variant, he had to go through safety training, as in learning how to position his body for G-forces and execute proper breathing techniques. He also learned what he could touch while flying, which was basically nothing.
Following the in-depth flight briefing, Dr. Kuncham joined Blue Angels pilot Lieutenant Griffin Stangel for the flight of a lifetime. He was ready to join in exciting maneuvers like those seen in the movies “Top Gun” and the just released “Top Gun: Maverick.”
During the 45-minute flight, Lt. Stangel conducted a series of breathtaking gravity defying maneuvers, including loops, rolls, and flying upside down. They even reached zero Gs, like the astronauts, and were just floating. Ultimately, they achieved a maximum of 7.2 G Force.
Dr. Kuncham was as calm, cool and collected following his thrilling flight as he was when he boarded. Grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the greater heights, Dr. Kuncham said he has always wanted to go up on SpaceX and he hopes this dream comes true.
In addition to family and friends, Dr. Kuncham invited three members of the Freeport high school and JROTC to attend the event – commanding officer Jillian Neblett, who will be attending the US naval candidate in the fall, executive officer Jamael Johnson and Command Master Justin Moran.