Marcus Hahnemann has been around planes his whole life. His father recently retired from Boeing, and on Monday the Sounders FC goalkeeper and aviation enthusiast got his U.S. pilot license.
All of the preparation he did to earn his pilot license couldn’t have prepared him for the experience on Wednesday when he was invited to fly with the Blue Angels.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Hahnemann, who himself owns a Cessna 180 airplane. “I think it’s something every little kid dreams about. Especially growing up in the area. The Blue Angels have always been such a huge part of Seafair. It has a ton of meaning.”
The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron of F/A-18 Hornet pilots. The team visits around 30 cities each year, putting on more than 70 shows. They have been a staple at Seafair over the years, but were absent from last year’s festivities when the exhibition team ceased operations because of budget constraints.
Now back in full force, the Blue Angels are in Seattle as a centerpiece of Seafair. Hahnemann joined Seahawks great and Washington State University product Marcus Trufant as guest passengers.
With his experience flying planes, Hahnemann thought he would be prepared for what he would face aboard the Blue Angels. However, no training aboard his Cessna could prepare him for the 7.6 G’s he reached in the Hornet.
“It was everything I expected and more. The sheer speed and everything about it was unbelievable,” an awed and exasperated Hahnemann said after his flight. “The whole thing was just absolutely amazing.”
Hahnemann flew for 45 minutes and was still beaming the next day when he met with media.
“This is the ultimate. To get to ride in the Blue Angels … you have to get invited to do this,” he smiled. “It’s pretty incredible.”
The Blue Angels will put on three exhibitions as part of the Seafair festivities, flying at 1:40 on Friday and 1:45 on Saturday and Sunday.