EL CENTRO, Calif. – Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui has been a part of the New England Patriots’ high flying offense for two seasons, but even that doesn’t come close to the heights he will reach in early March.
Hooman and St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker will take to the skies as guest riders with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels on Monday, March 3rd. Hoomanawanui and Hekker were nominated for these prestigious flights by the Blue Angels crew of the Navy due to their leadership, positivity, and impact in their respective communities.
Hoomanawanui said that it will be a childhood dream come true to fly in a jet, especially with the Blue Angels, since he grew up attending local air shows with his father and close friends in Illinois.
Michael added, “I’ve been to a lot of places, met a lot of people, and seen a lot of things, but flying in a jet may just top them all. I am honored to have this opportunity.”
Another connection is that Lieutenant Ryan Chamberlain, the Blue Angels Narrator and VIP Pilot, is also a native of Bloomington, Illinois, and a Central Catholic High School graduate like Hoomanawanui and will be piloting his celebrity flight.
Katy Macdonald of the Blue Angels stated that she is excited to have the two NFL stars out to their winter base in El Centro for their memorable flights with the Nation’s best. Macdonald added, “It is about changing lives, following your dreams, and making an impact on the youth of this country and that is what Michael and Johnny have continued to do throughout their young professional careers.”
Blue Angel pilots have been known to fly as close as 18 inches apart, as high as 15,000 feet and as low as 50 feet from the ground during demonstrations. Performances can reach speeds as fast as 700 mph.
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