There is little more thrilling than getting inverted in a jet. As a private pilot I have always been fascinated by all aircraft but flying a jet has always been a dream of mine. This weekend my friends at Gauntlet Warbirds took me up for a lesson on flying aerobatics in the Czech made L-39 Albatros turbo fan jet. The Albatros is used by more than 30 countries for either training or as a light attack aircraft. Gauntlet Warbirds is one of just a handful of schools that offer L-39 training.
Greg Morris, my certified flight instructor for the flight, let me do much of the flying including performing some aileron rolls and stalls. He showed off the airplanes capabilities putting us through a 5G Half Cuban Eight and a 6.5G break turn, both maneuvers put a strain on your body but resulted in ear to ear grinning smiles. To fly the L-39 in the United States you need to be a FAA certified pilot and participate in training as the plane is not certified by the FAA for rides. Only a handful of providers offer training in such an aircraft, Chicago based Gauntlet Warbirds is one of them.
However, if you have the need for speed and are not a pilot, iExplore offers a flight experience that is high on my bucket list, a flight in a Russian Mig-29 Fulcrum. A customizable 3-5 day tour to Russia to fly the Mikoyan MiG-29. You don't need to be a pilot to enjoy this opportunity.
Participants can choose from a 25 minute sub-sonic experience or a 45 supersonic flight experience. Based on your comfort level and health the pilot will perform a variety of maneuvers that could include flying inverted, the Hammer Head, aileron rolls, loops and low level passes. The Aerobatics flight is flexible and the pilot may adjust the program according to how you are feeling. Bookend this amazing experience with an opportunity to explore Moscow and St. Petersburg and you will have a trip of a lifetime.