July 20, 2011
YPSILANTI, Mich. -- - Former Spartan player and current Detroit Red Wing Justin Abdelkader took to the friendly skies on Wednesday morning, riding along with Lt. Dave Tickle of the United States Navy Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels are in mid-Michigan this weekend for the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show, based at Ypsilanti's Willow Run Airport. Abdelkader, who remembered going to air shows throughout his childhood in Muskegon and marveling at the Blue Angels, was exposed to speeds in excess of 550 miles per hour, sharp turns, and forces of up to 7.4 G's during his 40-minute ride-along.
"This was an absolutely unbelievable experience," admitted Abdelkader. "Its something that I had no frame of reference to prepare for, because nothing in your everyday life is anything like it. I have to thank the United States Navy for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. I remember watching the Blue Angels when I grew up in Muskegon, and today was just such a thrill."