Russ Wicks to Fly with U.S. Navy Blue Angels

El Centro, CA. (January 2, 2002) - Russ Wicks, recognized as "The Fastest American on Water", has been selected to experience a flight with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels.  The VIP demonstration flight is scheduled for late February 2002.

On June 15, 2000, Russ Wicks broke the longest-standing major speed record in motorsports history. Wicks became the fastest person ever to take a propeller-driven boat through the measured mile. Wicks piloted the Miss Freei Unlimited Hydroplane across the one-mile section of Lake Washington with an average speed of 205.494 MPH.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity", says Wicks.  "My respect for this select group of America's best fighter pilots is immense."  Wicks' admiration for The Blue Angels started at an early age.  "Even though I had immersed myself in racing at age 10, I always imagined what it would be like to fly a F/A-18 Hornet".  Like The Blue Angels, Wicks has experienced excessive speed.  Wicks is one of few people to have traveled 200 MPH on both water and on land.

In today's all-volunteer force, the Blue Angels are an integral part of Navy and Marine Corps recruiting and retention programs.  VIP flights in the two-seat, Number Seven jet generate national media coverage to heighten public awareness of Navy opportunities and are in direct support of Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts.  The Navy is able to offer only a limited number of individuals the opportunity to fly within these parameters.

At a recent Seattle press conference, Wicks announced the formation of a team for his next major speed objective.  American Challenge is a consortium of successful business leaders, innovative technical engineers, and motorsport professionals focused on returning the World Water Speed Record to the United States.

About the Blue Angels

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, Blue Angels, is stationed at Sherman Field, NAS Pensacola, Florida.  The squadron is scheduled to fly 70 air shows at 35 locations in the United States during the 2002 season.  The squadron spends the winter (January through March) training pilots and new team members at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, California.  The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting and to represent the naval service to the civilian community, its elected leadership, and foreign nations.  The Blue Angels serve as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.  A Blue Angel flight demonstration exhibits the choreographed refinements of Navy-trained flying skills.  It presents the graceful, aerobatic maneuvers of the four-plane diamond, as well as the fast-paced high performance maneuvers of the two solo pilots.  The renowned delta formation is complete with six jets performing maneuvers, as a whole, in formation.  The 2001 show season brought out more than 15 million spectators.  Since 1946 the Blue Angels have performed for more than 350 million people.  For further information