After trading in his Red Wings for a day to soar skyward with the Blue Angels, Detroit goalie Alex Nedeljkovic finds himself questioning his career choice.
Top Gun or top stopper? Nedeljkovic finds himself wondering what the right answer might be.
Evidently, facing slapshots in excess of 100 mph and having the entire outcome of the game resting on his shoulders doesn’t compare to pulling g-forces in the sky in excess of 7.
“I thought I had the coolest job in the world,” Nedeljkovic told pilot Lt. Griffin Stangel. “Man, it’s not even close to this.”
A flight demonstration squadron of the U.S. Navy, the Blue Angels first formed in 1946. The unit is the second-oldest formal aerobatic team in the world, trailing only the Patrouille de France, which was formed in 1931.The Blue Angels fly Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets.
— Alex Nedeljkovic (@alexned_) July 21, 2022
While airborne on his ride along, Nedeljkovic felt g-forces as high as 7.4 during a 180-degree vertical roll.
“I could tell the vision was going but I was there,” Nedeljkovic told Stangel mid-flight.
By comparison, Space Shuttle astronauts would have only faced a g-force of 3 during launch. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet was achieving airspeeds between 125-600 mph during his flight.
Nedeljkovic, who will be sharing the Red Wings net next season with newly-acquired Ville Husso, was proudest of the fact that he didn’t lose his lunch, or consciousness, during his time in the cockpit.
“I don’t feel . . . maybe a little nauseous,” Nedeljkovic told DetroitRedWings.com. “Maybe, but it was great. I didn’t have any accidents up top.”
In fact, he wouldn’t have traded the opportunity to soar through the skies in a fighter jet for anything.
“It was great,” Nedeljkovic said. “That was pretty cool. Unreal.
“That was a lot of fun. An incredible experience.”
Nedeljkovic Latest Detroit Player To Gain His Wings
Nedeljkovic joined a long list of Detroit players who were given a chance to earn wings of a different type. Danny DeKeyser, Luke Glendening, Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader and captain Dylan Larkin have taken part in similar ride alongs in military jets in past years.
“It’s absolutely a rush,” Abdelkader recalled. “It’s real exciting.
“For myself, I always wanted to be a pilot when I was younger, interested in aviation and flying jets. Any time you get an opportunity to do something like this, I was ready to jump at it.”