Duval County educator soars high during once-in-a-lifetime ride with the Blue Angels

A Duval County educator got the ride of a lifetime Wednesday — flying with the Blue Angels.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County educator got the ride of a lifetime Wednesday – flying with the Blue Angels.

The Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team is gearing up their air shows this weekend at NAS Jacksonville and one lucky person was chosen to fly with the Blue Angels.

The organization looked for someone they called a key influencer. They found it with Timothy Simmons — the High School Region Superintendent for Duval County.

Simmons told News4JAX he had to think about taking the ride – but is so excited to tell all his students about it.

On a day he would normally be headed to school, Simmons buckled up for the flight of his life.

“Going through, meeting with Navy coordinators and so forth, it was mentioned, ‘hey you’re a key influencer — why don’t you come and fly with the blue angles?’” Simmons said. “I said, let me think about it.”

He realized it was an opportunity he couldn’t miss. All his family and friends got to watch.

After a briefing, breathing exercises, and helmet checks — he was ready to fly. Before taking off he told News4JAX that his students were on his mind.

The opportunity to expose them to say, ‘hey, I got to fly with the blue angles. I learned about this jet, I learned all of this and you can be that individual too’ — to inspire them and have something to look forward to is just what I do,” Simmons said. “That’s what I believe as an educator that we’re here to do.”

They reached 7Gs and went too far for the eye to see. And when he came back down — he couldn’t believe what he had just done.

“It was amazing,” Simmons said. “These guys do some amazing work – it’s just amazing what they are able to do with this jet.”

When you made that first turn – where was your stomach at that moment? “It was coming to my neck – it was coming, it was coming but everything held down.”

Simmons said he looks forward to sharing this experience with his students.

News4JAX reporter Marilyn Parker is set to fly with the Blue Angles Friday morning. The Blue Angels air show is set for Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 am.

Click here to read more about the weekend events.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad