September 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Red Wings' Danny DeKeyser really takes to wing with Blue Angels

Red Wings' Danny DeKeyser flies with the Blue Ange...
Red Wings' Danny DeKeyser flies with the Blue Ange...: Defenseman talks about his 45-minute flight at Selfridge in an F/A-18 Hornet.

Harrison Township— Danny DeKeyser has played in several hockey games and been through a ton of rigorous workouts, but nothing prepared him for Tuesday’s flight with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was awesome,” said DeKeyser, whose face looked a bit ashen and who admitted he reached for the disposable bag a couple times during his flight. “I’m still a little woozy right now, but it was something different.

“You don’t get an opportunity to do something like this very often.”

DeKeyser flew with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain in an F/A-18 Hornet, which has the capability of going 1,400 miles per hour — just over mach 1.

If they didn’t fully reach 1,000 mph, it sure felt like it to DeKeyser.

“They give you a tutorial on what to do (before the procedure) and I tried to follow what they told me the best I could,” said DeKeyser, whose flight lasted approximately 40 minutes. “They tell you how to tighten your legs and squeeze muscles.”

Lt. Cmdr. Chris Shipe, a spokesman for Tuesday’s event, said a person with DeKeyser’s body mass and structure was pulling six times his normal body weight during the fly-along.

“That’s why when they’re walking off, they looked a little tired; it’s like running a marathon,” Shipe said.

DeKeyser said one of the unique aspects of the flight was the takeoff.

“It felt like it went straight up, which was kind of weird,” DeKeyser said. “(The pilot) guns it and we’re flying over Port Huron in two minutes.”

Still unsigned

DeKeyser is the last of the Red Wings restricted free agents still unsigned, but doesn’t sound concerned with camp set to begin Sept. 18.

“I’m pretty confident,” DeKeyser said of his belief a contract will be worked out soon. “We haven’t talked in in about a week or two, but we’ll talk again here soon and hopefully get something worked out.”

DeKeyser had 23 points (four goals) in 65 games last season. An undrafted free agent, his salary cap hit was $925,000 the last two seasons.

Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser prepares to take off with the Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team in an F/A-18 Hornet on Tuesday. / Photos by David Guralnick / Detroit News
Danny DeKeyser gives a hat to aviation electrician's mate Cyrille Sandusky ... (David Guralnick / Detroit News)