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Bradley Tarrence, principal, Robert Smalls International Academy, prepares to take off in a U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Super Hornet during the Key Influencer Rider Experience at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, April 19, 2023. The purpose of the Key Influencer Program is to highlight people in our community who help shape attitudes and opinions of youth. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Herwig)

Photo by Cpl. Andrew Herwig

Bradley Tarrance Takes Flight With The Blue Angels

27 Apr 2023 | Cpl. Andrew Herwig Marine Corps Installations East

Mr. Bradley Tarrance, the principal of Robert Smalls International Academy, took to the skies when he flew with the U.S. Navy’s premier flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, at MCAS Beaufort, April 19.

“It was really neat being able to be up there”, Tarrance said.

With 23 years of experience in education throughout many schools and states, Tarrance was selected to participate in the Key Influencer program and invited to fly with the Blue Angels. The purpose of the Key Influencer Program is to highlight people in our community who help shape attitudes and opinions of youth in their communities. Tarrance continues to be a key leader in his position at Robert Smalls International Academy where he leads more than 100 staff members and 700 students.

Despite his dislike of roller coasters, Tarrance continuously expressed his excitement toward the opportunity as he climbed into the back seat of the Blue Angels F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“The crew chief and the pilot were extremely kind and talked me through the whole entire process”, said Tarrance. “They eased any anxiety I had”.

While preparing for the flight, Tarrance was taught techniques to use during different maneuvers to help reduce the effects higher gravitational force (G) has.

“You have to do certain maneuvers with your body to make sure that your blood continues to flow so you don’t pass out,” Tarrance said. “I was lucky enough not to pass out and I definitely commend the pilot for walking me through everything to make sure I didn’t”.

During the flight Tarrance was able to experience different aerial maneuvers that the Blue Angels perform at different air shows around the world, including positive and negative G maneuvers. G force is the measure that determines the acceleration produced by Earth’s gravity on an object or individual. As they accelerate faster and fly higher in the jet, the gravitational impact on the body grows.

“When we went zero gravity, and I kind of floated around in the cockpit, that was probably the most unique experience”, Tarrance said. “We did get up to seven G’s so I can brag about that to all my friends and family”.

After the experience, Tarrance explained how he wanted to use this opportunity as a lesson to his students at Robert Smalls International Academy.

“You’ve got to lean into uncomfortable things to learn more and grow more as a human, and I was able to do one of those things today,” Tarrance said. “I am very blessed to be able to do this and just feel very grateful for this opportunity”.

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