Adventure Girl’s retiring: after a fighter jet ride finale

Sky Combat Ace fly a jet plane

Don’t believe my confident pose — I was scared to death. ©

Over the past year, I’ve done my share to show off the adventurous side to Las Vegas, including zip-lining in the wind, off-roading Mint 400-style, hitting the gun rangerace car driving around a wild racetrack, all things that got my adrenaline racing in new ways and put me out of my comfort zone. For my grand finale to this adventure series, I got talked into a tiny cockpit to fly a jet plane and do tricks I thought I couldn’t even imagine at Sky Combat Ace. All week, it was all I could think about. What have I done? Am I really doing this? Am I going to throw up? Then it was Saturday morning, and I was frantic and lost in my own neighborhood, and I realized just how nervous I was. But I found it, and  suddenly I was in a flight suit and climbing into the cockpit. Before I could say, “ok, maybe not,” we were barreling down the runway for a fighter jet ride that I never thought I’d experience outside of a movie theater.

If you told me that the rest of this story took place over 90 seconds or 90 minutes, I would believe you, because I had no concept of time. It was the ride of my life.

Before we got up into the air, I sat in on a mandatory safety briefing that also went over all of the tricks we’d be doing, from the loops, aileron rolls (spinning 420 degrees per second), tail slides, spins, hammerheads, Cuban 8s, and Lomcevaks (tumbling wingtip to wingtip). I think the point of all of this information was to calm everyone’s nerves with the safety information. I, however, sat dumbly as I saw the tricks I’d soon be doing. I have no recollection which was which, but I do remember that at one point the instructor said we’d be flying straight up, cutting the engine, and then falling through space.

Sky Combat Ace fly a jet plane

As the guys got the plane ready, I asked about a million times if I was going to puke. Someone had put it in my head that this was going to happen, and for some reason, that seemed way worse a humiliation than dying via plane crash in the desert. I was told that if I liked roller-coasters, I’d be fine, and there were barf bags on-board.

As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. Once I got up there, it was like the BEST roller-coaster of my life! Seeing the Strip from all of those different angles, hanging upside down, diving towards the ground, spinning so fast it didn’t seem real… This was truly one of, if not the most, spectacular adventures of my life — and might always have that title.

Sky Combat Ace fly a jet plane

My pilot, Flash, seems “a little” bit more confident on our way out. ©


I did try the controls for a quick few seconds. Strangely, I was so much less scared than behind the wheel of the race-car, which seemed so close to all of the other cars — and even the barriers of the track. Up in the air, one little movement, and we were about to spin all the way around in either direction. The controls were scarily sensitive — though there was no one to run into!

But I was too excited to do all of those cinematic tricks they told me about in that darn safety briefing.

One of the coolest things we did was play with G force, which I don’t completely understand. All I know is that upside down, when he pulled hard, it felt absolutely awful. He told me that was negative 2. We did a few positive ones, and I absolutely loved it. After the last one, I was euphoric, and Flash asked me if tunnel vision had started come in on both sides?

What? You were trying to see if I’d black out?

I joked that maybe my eyes were closed — and maybe (probably) they were. MAN, I felt like I’d missed out. I was soothed when he told me went up to G force 6.5. Later, the PR person (you’re the best, Megan!) told me that in all the times she’d gone up, she’d only made it to 6!

Sky Combat Ace

Want a smooth romantic tour for a special night? You’ll be on this plane. I, however, was not.

There was another plane in the air while I was up, and at one point we did rolls over each other, which was really cool. We also watched them do a really complicated trick, and I couldn’t believe that it was something we had done. It was so different to witness it than to be the one doing it, spinning around in the air just trying to catch a glimpse of the horizon.

Coming in for a landing, Flash was going so fast that a leer jet coming in for a landing seemed to stop in mid-air and go backwards… What a morning!

You won’t hear me scream like in my race-car video, but this one is worth watching — even for just a few seconds. Watching the world spin around like that could convince absolutely anyone to put a fighter jet ride like the one I did with Sky Combat Ace to their ol’ bucket list.

Fly a Jet Plane from Abby Tegnelia on Vimeo.

 I was a guest of Sky Combat Ace, but all opinions are my own.


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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. This sounds really scary but looks so cool! You have definitely had some crazy adventures over the past few months.

  2. OMG how much fun!!!!!! I love how adventurous your life is darling!

  3. Wow, congrats on not throwing up! I think I would have. I really wish I could tolerate being spun upside down like that. It looks like a very cool experience.

  4. Holy cow. That’s impressive. I love how your hair is still as fabulous as ever even after being thrown around at altitude!!

  5. This is my DREAM. Seriously. OMG. I’m so jealous.

    When I was a little kid I wanted to be a fighter pilot (until I found out you had to have damn near perfect vision and I had glasses by the age of 3). *swoon*

  6. Abby! This is AMAZING! Not sure if my anxiety would let me do it, but I love this line: “That seemed way worse a humiliation than dying via plane crash in the desert. ” Hahaha.

  7. I was just telling Dalene yesterday about wanting to do this and bam this post shows up. Thanks Abby!!

  8. I love how you feature all the other stuff in Las Vegas than just gambling. I’m not much of a gambler but I’d love to try out some of this.

  9. I couldn’t recommend this experience anymore!! Good, Ayngelina, I feel like I’ve done my duty then. I can’t believe how many people think Vegas is all about gambling!

  10. You’re certainly showing a different side of Las Vegas. I’d love to try flying a jet fighter.

  11. You are such a dare devil!

    When I spend time in Vegas, I rarely gamble. So I’m always happy to see you enjoying your town in it’s many forms of entertainment. Not sure I can do this one, just yet.

  12. In. Sane. I stand by my assertion that I probably would have died.

  13. I am sure you felt very much alive during such a great adventure. 🙂 Up, up, in the sky…

  14. I did feel alive! I didn’t want it to end… Truly. I was so bummed when it was over.

  15. OK that is crazy! But I loved reading this. What an awesome adventure. I don’t think I would enjoy it like you. I am sure I would black out, puke, or both. However, I loved reading this story.

  16. Lol they did say that guys on average got sicker than girls…

  17. You’re such a badass!

  18. It’s funny which things scare us and which don’t!

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