A little while ago a coworker came to my desk with an interesting proposal. She asked if I would like to go to the Boston-Portsmouth Air Show in New Hampshire on Aug. 27? Apparently, VillageSoup had gotten tickets and we could send a reporter/photographer to cover the event.

The coverage would not only be on the ground but included an opportunity to fly with the Navy’s Blue Angels in their C-130, “Fat Albert.” Needless to say, my name was the one to come up during a talk about who should do this.

I think it might have had something do to with my “young cub” status and that I have no children to leave behind if I fall out of the sky.

Of course I said I would do it. I have flown on commercial airlines but never anything like this and probably won’t be able to again.

My luck perked up later on that week when a ride opened up with another flight that morning as well.

At this point I was, to say the least, nervous. Already disliking heights I had made the mistake of YouTubing the jets and what they can do. As impressed as I was, I decided it was best not to take breakfast until after my morning flight.

So on Thursday night I left Rockland to go stay with a friend in Wells as to prepare for my 7:30 a.m. briefing to go with my first flight “Team MS760.” We had a nice visit and I tried to get plenty of rest before my big day. Of course, I only got about five hours of sleep.

I arrived at the Portsmouth Airport around 7 a.m. prepared for the worst. At 7:30 a.m. I met the group that would be going with me.

The pilot team included two pilots, “Snort” and “Jive,” who fly a MS760 each. The pilots are highly experienced retired military officers with nearly 50 years of combined experience and thousands of hours each in military aircraft.

The planes are four-seat, twin-engine, pressurized personal jet aircraft whose top speed is a little over 400 mph. In layman’s terms the planes can go fast and do cool stuff.

As I strapped into my seat in the cockpit of Snort’s plane I was nervous but surprisingly not scared. I was confident in my pilot and the plane, just not my stomach.

The pilots took off simultaneously and very close. And they stayed close the whole time. They were exceptionally good at keeping a tight formation with each other and moving in sync.

We took off and cruised above Portsmouth for a bit then headed for the ocean. That part was very pleasant. I was calm, collected, and full of anticipation.

Then over the radio I heard “OK, lets go” or something like that. This is where the fun started. At between 2,000 to 5,000 feet above the ground we did things the human body was never designed to withstand.

I talked to Snort afterward and he explained it to me. We did close formation, feet away, and “we just did some mild maneuvering but very close.” Mild, ha.

I remember my insides being flopped around like a hacky sack and, let me tell you, from experience: lifting your arms against a healthy amount of G-force against you is no easy task — especially to take photos.

At times the other plane was so close to us I could have reached out and touched it if the cockpit was open. Snort said that the closest points of the airplanes got to be around a couple of feet apart.

He said the hardest part of the routine was to fly with such precision. He told me that he had to make hundreds of small corrections in pitch and roll to stay smooth.

After we landed, again simultaneously, I got off feeling not quite myself and tried to relax. I really needed a cup of coffee at this point.

My next briefing was at 1 p.m. so I spend the rest of the morning taking pictures of the grounds and the exhibits setting up. The show really started on Saturday, but Friday was a “dress rehearsal” with many of the same things going on, including a full run of the show at midday.

I went around and looked at a number of various planes that I never thought I would ever see. My favorites were the two Navy E-2C Hawkeye radar planes. I had seen planes like them in pictures and videos but they were really cool with their flying saucer look and warped propellers.

I was waiting at the media tent by the time the show started and for the next two hours I was amazed. I saw solo pilot and groups do flips, close passes, mid-air stalls, loops, knife-edges, and the list goes on. If you ever get a chance look up what was called a ‘hammerhead.” It’s a kind of flip where the plane flips sideways while staying perpendicular to the ground, not belly-down as it normally would be.

One of my other favorites was the “slide,” where the plane gains altitude while perpendicular to the ground.

I also saw a military fighter jet, an F-18, I think, break the speed of sound. It wasn’t as cool to hear the huge boom as to see the vapor cone burst out when the jet roared by. It’s a pretty nifty thing to say I saw the speed of sound being broken.

It was amazing to watch these planes do things that I don’t think I could ever figure out. What was also visually incredible was the smoke stream they left behind so observers could trace their steps.

I also got a chance to watch team MS760 perform without any passengers and, in retrospect, they were right: what they did while I was on board was “mild.”

It was soon 1 p.m. and time for my ride with the Blue Angels. The six-member media group was transported to the Air Reserve base where we met the crew of Fat Albert and were briefed.

Fat Albert Airlines flies with the Navy’s Blue Angels but is a Marine plane, manned by a Marine crew. When I first got the assignment I thought the plane was a kind of support plane that flew with the jets so personnel could watch and media could take pictures. No, it is a trick plane.

The plane is a C-130T Hercules. Its maximum takeoff weight is around 155,000 pounds and, according to the Navy’s Web site, “cruises at a speed of more than 320 knots (approximately 360 miles per hour) at 27,000 feet.”

That baby can move.

We had to sign waivers and complete paperwork for the ride, much like with my previous ride. However, I thought it was funny that one of the questions on the military’s medical sheet was: “Are you afraid of flying?”

I chuckled to myself, thinking who wouldn’t be a little scared to go with a group of Marine fly boys in their trick air-elephant? If you answered “yes” then you probably wouldn’t get to go. So, I figured I wasn’t that scared to go 1,200 feet in the air to play.

There were several spots to sit including the cockpit and a special bubble on top of the plane. I was assigned to a spot next to the cargo window where I could take pictures and enjoy the ride. Also with the media were members of the Air Guard stationed at the base.

I was a lot calmer this time around seeing as I had about twice as much experience than I did before. Fat Albert took off and suddenly dropped, bringing its passengers to zero Gs. At this point some crew members hang onto something and try to touch the ceiling with their feet as they float up. We just tried to hang onto our lunch.

Since I wasn’t in a cockpit like I was in the jet I couldn’t exactly tell what was going on. However, I know that the plane was pushed to its maximum capabilities, as it would be on missions, through knife-edges, dives, a last-minute landing, and highly precise maneuvering.

After I finished, still feeling nauseous and hot I talked with pilot, Capt. Benjamin Blanton, about our flight. He explained a considerable amount to me but the thing that stuck out most was the reaction of spectators.

“Everybody is generally excited,” he said. “You generally get a swelling of pride. You get pride not just in your country and the patriotism but also for the men and women that are out there putting on the uniform.”

After that ride, I was done, off to go visit friends in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. but, looking back, I feel like the captain put it well. When all was said and done I think the word I can use most to describe the day was “professional.”

All of the pilots, crew, and participants I saw were experienced and extremely talented. They held themselves to high standards and were exceedingly impressive.

Although I was physically uncomfortable at times, not once did I feel in danger or threatened during my flights. The military had trained these men and women to be the best at what they do and they certainly proved it.

Oh, and because I know you are thinking it: no, I never got sick.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.