Wednesday July 14, 2010

Dayton Flyer

University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran became a high-flying Flyer when he flew just under the speed of sound with the Blue Angels.

"You've given new meaning to Dayton Flyer," a reporter joked with University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran moments after he disembarked from a half-hour soaring flight with Blue Angel naval aviator C.J. Simonsen.

"I'd do it again, but not tomorrow," Curran quipped. "Things come along in life once, and you have to take advantage of them. It was unbelievable."

Reaching a speed approaching Mach 1, Curran participated in a special flying demonstration in a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet as a preview to this summer's July 17-18 Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Wearing a helmet and navy blue jump suit and strapped in a harness, Curran gave a thumbs-up sign as the sleek jet taxied down the runway in the mid-day sun. Flying just south of the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash and back to Dayton International Airport at a 680-mile-per-hour clip, the demonstration flight included a straight-up-arrow ascent, aerobatic maneuvers, dives and rolls.

Curran and Graham High School science teacher Chantelle M. Rose '98 were selected by the Navy for exclusive rides because "they're people who help shape the attitudes and opinions of youth in their communities," according to air show organizers. Rose prepared by going skydiving last week as part of her aeronautical training for the Teachers in Space program. Curran logged about 20,000 air miles in the past 10 days after trips to China and the West Coast.

Why did Curran jump at the chance to fly with the renowned Blue Angels? "I love racing. I love speed. It doesn't get any faster than this," he said.

Afterwards, he described the flight as a roller coaster ride with a twist. "It's agile. One moment it feels like you're going very slowly, then trees are flying by you at near or Mach speed."

Curran is known as an energetic leader who keeps a dawn-to-dusk schedule. "I'm never going to go this fast again in my life, but I think it will pick up my pace at work," he said with a laugh.

For more information, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3255 or rizvi@udayton.edu.