Mark Rashid on the Move – Really on the Move
On July 23, 1996 Mark Rashid of Bethesda, Maryland went for the ride of a lifetime with the Navy’s world-renowned Blue Angels Precision Flying Team. As part of a training assignment, Mark took a “hop” with one of the solo pilots in a Navy Hornet Strike Fighter. The purpose was to familiarize Navy aerospace engineers with the tactical experience of jet crews.
The flight was from Sherman Field in Pensacola Beach, Florida and was piloted by Blue Angel 7, Navy Lt. Scott “Yogi” Bear. The flight lasted about 45 minutes and was conducted from 100 feet to 20,000 feet. It commenced with a high speed run over the runway followed immediately by a hard pull up and subsequent vertical climb to 12,000 feet. It ended with a “touch and go” at typical carrier landing sink rates. Mark was even able to complete a few aerobatic maneuvers of his own when allowed to pilot the aircraft briefly.
During the flight, Mark experienced speeds from 115 mph to 820 mph, or 1.1 times the speed of sound. He experienced accelerations from -1 g (hanging upside down) to 7.2 g’s (indescribable). At 7.2 g’s Mark weighed 1,300 pounds. Somewhere during the rolls, spins, and flips, Mark lost consciousness for a couple of seconds due to the sudden acceleration (from level flight to 7 g’s in less than one second, and from 100 feet altitude to 18,000 feet in 30 seconds). At takeoff, the aircraft weighed 14 tons. During the flight, the two engines burned 2 1/2 tons of jet fuel, principally kerosene. That’s enough gas for the average car for up to 1 year and 3 months of average use.
There is a footnote to this great adventure. A hotbed of malcontents formed a hate group named “people who hate Mark” as a direct result of the flight. Known associates include Chris Gall, Steve Rashid, and Paul and Joanne Rashid. Just how far this group may go to further its causes is unclear. Do what you can to help shelter Mark from these malcontents at the next reunion.