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Boys and Girls Club’s Jake Erickson takes flight with Navy’s Blue Angels

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The Navy's Blue Angel No. 7 lands at the La Crosse Airport on June 11, 2024, ahead of Airfest (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

The first of the Blue Angels landed in La Crosse on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s Deke Slayton Airfest.

Jake Erickson from the La Crosse Boys and Girls Club got an invitation to be a civilian passenger with the Navy pilots.

Before taking off, Erickson said he wanted the flight to be an experience he could share with the club members.

“I was selected to do this, but representing 5,000 kids and all of our great staff at the Boys and Girls Club, it’ll just be fun to get to share the experience with them,” Erickson said.

A Navy pilot leaves the cockpit of Blue Angel No. 7 at the La Crosse Airport on June 11, 2024 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

The Navy precision flying team will be the main attraction at the festival Saturday and Sunday at the airport. Tickets are only available online.

Erickson said he was nominated for the chance to fly with the Blue Angels and tried to do healthy things in the past week to physically prepare for the forces of gravity involved in the Blue Angels stunt flights.

His normal way of flying would be to go on Delta Air Lines.

Airfest began as an annual event in 1998, but is now only held during years when a well-known flying team is available to come to La Crosse to maximize attendance.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. nick

    June 12, 2024 at 5:07 am

    So much for climate change. A waste of taxpayer’s money to have these military pilots in air shows.

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