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 range, race 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.
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.
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!
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.
I was a guest of Sky Combat Ace, but all opinions are my own.
Latest posts by Abby (see all)
- 3 Destinations to Escape the Cold this Winter - December 2, 2016
- 7 reasons Cape Verde should be on your holiday hit list - May 30, 2016
- Top Ideas for Day Tours from Jakarta - May 27, 2016