HPS Eagles Actually Do Soar
A Memorial Day weekend annual event that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Jones Beach is the air show featuring the Blue Angels of the United States Navy. The Friday before the weekend is when the Blue Angels practice and offer a VIP flight given to lucky civilians.
Craig Cardillo graduated from Hauppauge High School (HHS) in 2002 alongside Dr. Carolyn Probst, who is currently the Assistant to the Superintendent for Educational Services & Student Outcomes for Hauppauge Public Schools (HPS). Craig joined the ROTC program at Notre Dame University for the United States Navy. He made his way up the ranks and is now a Lieutenant Commander. The Blue Angels always look for a civilian who is a positive influence on the youth to honor with a VIP flight on a Blue Angel F-18 jet. Although, it has been a decade and a half later, Commander Cardillo remembers what an impressive person and influential educator Dr. Dennis O’Hara has always been and felt he was a great candidate for this honor. When reached for comment, Lt. Commander Cardillo said that He said, “Dr. O’Hara was an obvious choice for promoting a growth mindset and grit in his students.”
Hauppauge Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dennis O’Hara’s nomination was accepted and on Friday, May 25th, 2018, the O’Hara family came out to Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, to see Dennis climb into the cockpit of the beautiful blue 28-million-dollar machine and take off into the wild blue yonder.
Before heading out to the tarmac, Dr. O’Hara was briefed as to what to expect. He was told about G-force. When we are standing on the ground, gravity is pulling us toward the Earth with a force of 1 G. When a Blue Angel does a quick maneuver, it can increase the gravitational pull up to over 7 G’s. However, when a body is subjected to 5 G’s or more the blood in your body gets pulled down to your feet making a flyer light headed. VIP’s are instructed to flex the muscles in their legs and abdomen to try and force the blood back up to the brain to avoid passing out. The flyers must also be sure to keep their lungs filled and only take short breaths at 3 to 5 second intervals.
VIP’s are also instructed in what to do should the pilot hit the eject button which would jettison the entire cockpit in 2.5 seconds. Fortunately, this has never been necessary on a VIP flight.
Walking out to the tarmac and climbing a ladder, Dr. O’Hara was strapped in and taken for a 45-minute flight reaching speeds of over 700 miles per hour. In fact, they broke the sound barrier at 767 miles per hour.
Dr. O’Hara had this to say about his experience, “Something I will never forget. Thank you, Craig Cardillo, (Hauppauge HS Class of 2002), Lt. Commander, US Navy, for nominating me. We did rolls, flew inverted, did a complete upside down 360-degree loop, broke the sound barrier and hit 6.6 G’s! I’m grateful my family was with me, and although it was exhilarating, I am happy to be on the ground.”
After Dr. O’Hara was safely on the ground, his pilot, Lieutenant Andre Webb, prepared for take off once again. ABC News Correspondent Amy Freeze was there doing a story for a Long Island Summer Kick-Off show for Channel 7. Scroll down to see her coverage of the flight.