Meira takes ride with Blue Angels Vitor Meira got a healthy dose of Vitamin G during his flight with Maj. Nathan Miller of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
G as in G forces thrust upon the Delphi Panther Racing driver by the high-performance F/A-18 Hornet during the 45-minute flight over Central Indiana courtesy of the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron pilot. The Blue Angels will perform their aerial acrobatic maneuvers this weekend at the Mount Comfort Air Show near Indianapolis, while Meira will be competing at Infineon Raceway.
"You have the same smile on your face that you had when we took off, so that's good," Miller said after delivering Meira to the ground. "I was telling him while we were up there that there are a lot of parallels between his team and our team. It's very dedicated and all the teamwork that goes hand in hand. We're grateful that he was able to do this for us and help in our recruiting effort. It's just a great experience to fly with him.
"Now I want to get into one of the (IndyCar Series) cars."
The demonstration flight began with a high-performance climb, in which the pilot and passenger pulled 5.5 Gs (5½ times their body weight) as they shot toward the sky at 90 degrees powered by the twin General Electric turbofan engines with more than 30,000 pounds of thrust, and continued with a series of maneuvers from the show.
As No. 7 Hornet crew chief Deo Harrypersaud signaled Miller to a stop, the canopy opened to reveal a sweat-soaked passenger who looked as if he had spent an hour in his No. 4 Honda-powered Dallara on the Infineon Raceway course.
"Wow; it's unbelievable," Meira said.
That's usually the initial response from passengers who take a ride in one of the Indy Racing Experience two-seaters at an IndyCar Series event.
"I looked at my hands when we landed and they were white," Meira continued. "When you go upside down, that was cool. Then, taking off, it was like we were going straight to the moon. You appreciate what those guys do, how close they are to each other during their maneuvers, when you see them on TV or in pictures. But you really appreciate it when you're up there.
"I expected, but it kept surprising me."