The big looming 3-0. Even though I have a very chubby baby face that makes me look like I should still be in diapers, my rattling bones are a lot older than perceived looks, and recently I clocked over into my 30’s. To mark the occasion, my family very graciously gifted me an aerobatic flight experience in the gorgeous and sleek L-39 Albatros Fighter Jet because they know I love high octane thrills and this fits the bill.
After signing some forms and waivers at the Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights office that meant I was at the mercy of the pilot and the gods and the elemental chain reactions, and potential wayward birds that could send us careening into the ground in a great big, fiery mess, I was given a debriefing of what was about to transpire and what to do in case of an emergency that made me feel like I was just about to head to war.
Formalities complete, it was time to suit up, and Top Gun roleplay the shit out of the next 25 minutes.
Get In, We’re Going Flying
Walking outside through the hangar into the baking heat of the outer reaches of the Archerfield Airport, I got my first glimpse of the L-39, and it was a sleek, nimble-looking puppy, not at all like an Albatros. (After looking up the solid-looking bird, actually vaguely does, except they don’t look too agile.)
After getting strapped in, so that I wouldn’t be tossed around in the aerobatic manoeuvres and have my face plant ever so inelegantly against the curved glass of the cockpit, it was time to get this bird in the sky.
Back seats often lack a decent forward-viewing perspective as they are usually at the same height as the pilot seat, but as this bee had an elevated rear cockpit so that the second pilot could take the reign for whatever situation arose, it provided a great view of us accelerating and taking off down the runway like as if I were actually piloting the plane. Yehaw!
It wasn’t long before the light-weight Albatross was ascending the skies over Archerfield and we were taking in the views of the residential areas between the airport in the outer Brisbane region and the trees and undulating mountains ranges and cleared farmlands of the Scenic Rim.
The G-Force Is With You
Underestimating the speed of this beautiful little beast, it was a remarkably short amount of time before we had reached the airspace over Lake Wyaralong where we were going to full evasive war manoeuver the hell out of this agile little Albatros.
Warming up with a 2.5G barrel roll to the left, and increasing to a 3.5G to the right, it was time to crank up the g-forces and see how many ways we could view the landscape before I either passed out or threw up, or both at the same time.
One of my favourite moments was when we went up vertically towards the sun, it’s bright, illuminating light the centre point we were heading directly towards, surpassing numerous levels of cloud as we rapidly ascended through the atmosphere. WEEE!!!
Another favourite moment of the flight was nose-diving Lake Wyaralong. It’s beautiful deep blue colour, and wavy outline contrasted the lands dry yellowy-green and was a sight to behind as we plummeted face-first towards the watery landscape. It felt so unnatural to be viewing the lake this way, but that’s what made it so incredibly exhilarating!
It was an absolute blast engaging in some Cuban 8’s, barrel rolls, 4 point hesitant turns and experiencing some fast, evasive moves like some hot-headed enemy fighter pilot was right on our asses trying to score one for the team and shoot us out of the sky.
Going backwards, doing loop-de-loops and going every which way was fantastic. Every manoeuvre was an absolute thrill. It was heaven. This is where I love life the most. Getting tossed around like a ragdoll and having an epic view to behold whilst pretending I’m some badass maverick taking down some enemy aircrafts in the process. (Though I’m pretty sure they don’t make that many squeeing noises…)
It was phenomenal to be able to experience the speed, power and maneuverability of such a nimble, agile aircraft and to experience what the G-Forces have on your body.
Sensations of weightlessness were divine and felt atmospheric like perhaps the way you would feel in space. Very airy, and light and the feeling of gently moving away from the were incredible and joyful.
Sensational of weightfulness was like experiencing a rapid ageing process. The skin on my face and body felt like it was pulling away from my bones as the aging process does naturally, but at a much more quick, instantaneous pace.
It makes for horrible moments in the video I acquired with the flight but is an unusual feeling that you can’t get anywhere else other than when you’re trying to defy gravity at that pace. I think my baby face aged 5 years. I now look 12!
After 15 minutes of non-stop spins, turns, rolls, and pure joy and exhilaration, we were due back on planet Earth. Aw.
As we headed back to the airport, I was feeling uneasy. My stomach didn’t know which way was up and the Sweet & Salty Peanuts from the Kingaroy Peanut Van I’d eaten in the morning was threatening to come out the wrong end.
The skilful pilot, Steve reassured me that feeling unwell after lots of spins, dips, rolls and evasive war manoeuvres, it’s not uncommon for your food not to know your face from your ass. (My words, not his!)
Landing smoothly back on the tarmac feeling better after a few minutes of intestinal uneasiness, the exhilarating 25min aerobatic flight in the gorgeous camo L-39 Albatros was complete.
Heading back to the office, I didn’t realise that we were going to view the video footage that we had bought of my experience in the L-39 Albatros straight away. On other experiences, they just give you an SD Card or a link for you to follow to get your pictures and/or video. and send you on your merry way.
Imagine my surprise when Steve and his fellow Fighter Pilot Adventure Flight compadre were showing my folks and I footage of me making silly squee faces and sounds as we went headfast into all the different maneuvers. I was like, “who dis, I don’t know that mad squealing woman.” AHAHAHA! Hides in a hole.
The guys let us take some photos with the bird that sanctioned so much joy, then we bid the beautiful L-39 Albatros a fond farewell and thanked the guys for the magnificent experience and said adios Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights.
The folks at Fighter Pilot Adventure Flight were pretty friendly guys. Aside from when they called me the wrong name once. AHAHA. Hi Melissa. Did you enjoy your flight on Friday? They also didn’t seem to mind too much that I wanted to take lots of photos of the plane for my special occasion which was nice.
The debriefing was probably the most formal I’ve had for a joyride, but it kind of made me feel like I was going to engage in an aerial fight with the enemy, so there’s no hate.
The L-39 Albatros was beautiful in its camo colours. Sleek, sexy and ready to roll. It was obviously well maintained and loved. A gorgeous aircraft.
While Lake Wyaralong isn’t the most beautiful or scenic area to be taking a flight, I don’t think the image of us nose-diving face first towards the deep blue lake is ever going to leave me. It was definitely the highlight of the flight.
However, when doing an acrobatic flight the view isn’t the most important part, it’s more the ride than the scenery.
The fight in the L-39 Albatros was exhilarating. Soon after we took off, it was non-stop aerobatic action. I loved every moment of flipping the bird every which way. It was extremely fun, and Steve also didn’t seem to mind me squealing from enjoyment as we did the different manoeuvres which is always awesome.
It was incredible reaching 4.6G-Forces and -1 G-Forces. It was incredible to feel the contrast between weightlessness and weightfulness.
Getting tossed around like a ragdoll was a very fun and gratifying experience.
The over experience in the L-39 Albatros was exhilarating. I got the Platinum Package which, was a 25-minute flight with up to 15 minutes of aerobatics, depending on how “hardcore, do you want more” you want to your flight to be.
It seems like a short amount of time and it is, but as I was doing all kinds of epic evasive manoeuvres for 15 mins tossing and turning did seem a bit short, I think if I had done anymore, my Sweet and Salty Peanuts would have found their way out of my face and into a puke bag, so it was a perfect amount of time for me to be a human ragdoll without having to spend much time feeling like my stomach wants to eject its contents from my face.
So, would I do it again. Abso-freaking-lutely! Message me anyday! I’m so game! Maybe this time I will chuck! Who knows!
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