Flying upside down? Exhilarating

Published 1:22 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

First of all let me start by saying I’m 4 feet, 11 inches tall. I’m also an adrenaline junkie.

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of being an Air Force fighter pilot, but people said I was too short.

So, when my boss asked who in the newsroom wanted to go flying with one of today’s air show teams yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity.

As soon as I said yes, I text messaged my daddy and told him I was going flying. He’s an adrenaline junkie, too.

All week long, Daddy kept telling me he’d love to take my place, but I just kept smiling. It was almost like one of those “na-na-na-boo-boo” moments.

By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I could hardly contain my excitement. I headed out to the airport, strolled around checking things out and found my way to the Ultimate Airshows plane.

I was greeted by Mike Ganor and Tommy Freeman, who helped me suit up and explained all the “safety stuff” before the pilot Rob Holland got on board the MX2 aerobatics plane.

I’ll admit, I did think, “What have I gotten myself into?” before we took off, but then I figured it was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that couldn’t be a truer statement.

The ride began slowly with the pilot doing some basic maneuvers. Then Rob turned it up a notch.

That’s when I knew I was hooked.

We flew upside down for a while overlooking the beautiful landscape and then we did a hammer head, which is when the plane flies straight up, then “stalls” and comes straight back down, again.

The G-forces were exhilarating, and my favorite part of the whole experience.

Later, I found myself flying upside down near PowerSouth’s facilities in Gantt overlooking the Conecuh River in a formation with another airplane.

I’m not sure how long we were actually upside down – it felt like an eternity, but when the only thing keeping you from falling out of your seat is a four-point harness, you’re just hanging on by your stomach looking straight down at the terrain. It’s incredible!

After that, it was back to the airport.

The first thing I did when I got back in my car was call my daddy. He wanted to know all the details.

It was one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had in my life.