Thrill Seeking Above California

Looking for a thrill? If you like the excitement of rides but have had enough of the Scrambler or Space Mountain, then SkyThrills might offer the vacation for you. Based out of Fullerton, California, this company is “tapping into a growing desire for experiential, adrenaline-fueled vacations, aim to convince jaded frequent fliers that a few spins, rolls and zero-gravity parabolas may be just the ticket until they can take the ultimate thrill ride: a suborbital trip into space,” writes Laura Bly. Bly is a writer for USA Today Travel and writes about her zero-gravity experience in her article: Sky queen for a day.

“Considered one of the world’s best aerobatic planes, the two-seater, dual-control Pitts S-2C is a lightweight 1,700 pounds. Its 260-horsepower engine can pull up to 6 Gs (centrifugal forces equal to six times that of gravity), hit a top speed of 212 mph and power a 360-degree roll in less time than it takes to stifle a gag reflex.

So far, so good. But I still need convincing that a newbie who barely knows a rudder from an altimeter could take the controls of an aircraft and fly a straight mile, much less nail a hammerhead — a pure vertical climb capped by a 180-degree U-turn at near-zero airspeed and an equally precipitous dive. My conversion comes a few minutes after takeoff, when we accelerate past 1,500 feet toward the Palos Verdes peninsula and Blackstone breezily announces, ‘You’ve got the airplane, my friend … you’re driving.’

Before I can conjure Amelia Earhart, I’ve made it through three rolls and a loop. Then, a couple of hammerheads: Push the stick over to 190 mph and head straight for the Pacific. Tighten my stomach and look left. Pull pull pull, head the plane straight up, feel a little zero G. Push my foot all the way down on the left rudder, push the stick down and to the right.”