I’ve been on my fair share of thrill rides. From the carnival circuits, to permanent roller coasters – even the Salt Lake City Olympic Park Bobsled Run (in winter, no less!)
But no thrill ride on the ground can compare with the flight experience I had earlier this week with famed stunt pilot, Sean D. Tucker of Team Oracle. He’s currently practicing for the California International Airshow, which is going on this weekend in Salinas, CA.
I was fortunate enough to be “assigned” this story for my real job, which is at 1590-AM KLIV in San Jose.
Sean has over 25,000 hours of flight time under his belt – and normally flies a Challenger III biplane for all his airshows. But for our flight, we went up in an Extra 300, with tandem seating (the biplane only has one seat).
If I look nervous in these photos – it’s for a good reason – that’s a parachute they’re attaching to me. To say the least, this isn’t your ordinary ride in a 737…
Here’s the complete flight experience, from the cockpit:
During our flight, we maxed out the accelerometer to negative 3G, all the way to positive 6G. (Let’s see a coaster EVER do that!) What’s even more crazy is that Sean actually went easy on me – he routinely DOUBLES those forces during his regular show. You truly have to be an athlete in order to stay conscious during these maneuvers!
Some of the maneuvers included: Vertical (klothoid) loop, barrel roll, hammerhead (modified Immelman), 400 degree snap rolls, inverted flying, flat spins and many more! I’m also happy to report, that the two barf bags given to me were never used.
So, if I can make two suggestions to you – never pass up the opportunity to fly in a stunt plane or acrobatic jet – it will stay with you the rest of your life. Second: go out to the California International Airshow to check out Team Oracle as well as many other aerial acrobats as they turn the skies of Salinas into a canvas of smoke and AVGAS. You won’t be disappointed!
Special thanks to Sean D. Tucker, the Team Oracle Ground Crew and the staff at the California International Airshow for the opportunity to fly with them – I’ll never forget it!