My ride was a gift from my co-workers when I retired last May (oh yes, old people can do this too). I must say I was a little frightened of the idea of sending my old bones rocketing through the air inverted or sideways but I couldnt let my co-workers down now could I. I arrived in Vegas on a sunday, with S.C.A. scheduled to pick me up at my hotel at 0820 monday morning. At 0820 sharp the SCA van arrived driven by a very nice gentleman whos name I dont remember. (sorry). Upon arrival at the airport I was introduced to my pilot for the day, Joseph "WHIP" Abbud. I would like to say up front how impressed I was with their facility. It was immaculate as were the airplanes. After the necessary paperwork was completed, I was fitted with a really neat black flight suit, and a parachute. My heart rate was at about 230 beats per minute at this point and I had not even got into the airplane yet. Joseph helped me into the airplane and buckled me in and placed a head set on my head complete with Velcro strap, to keep it on my head, during the manuvers. Jospeh then took a seat behind me. I was surprized that I got to sit in the front seat . After start up and during the taxi to the runway, Joseph explained what we would be doing. He also informed me that he would not do anything I felt uncomfortable doing.
Once airborne, Joseph put me through a couple of g tolerance manuvers (turns) one at 3 gs the second at 5gs. I handled them fine but did find it to be a very new and somewhat odd sensation at first. We then proceded to do some loops and rolls with Joseph also letting me fly the airplane . Joseph would always explain the manuver prior to doing it and would then count down prior to entering the manuver. We also went low level weaving through a canyon and shot across the dessert floor at high speed. OH WOW WHAT A RIDE THIS WAS. I was scheduled for a 50 minute ride but this old man (me) asked for "wings level" after about 40 min. I didnt want to push my luck and have to reach for that little white bag in front of me.
I must highly commend pilot Joseph "WHIP" Abbud for his kindness, professionalism and excellent flying skills. Thanks to him, an old man was able to feel young again, if only for a few minutes. The memories of this day I will cherish forever.
Some may ask if an old guy like me would do it again. The answer to that my friends is HELL YES! Next time I go I might ask to go without the flight suit as it was black and somewhat warm and bulky, but it did have a "cool" factor about it that my jeans and tee-shirt could not quite capture.
If you have the chance to take a flight with SCA, do it and dont let your age stop you. Now go have some fun.
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