From zero-g flight to the crush of a high-g turn, there’s nothing cool as experiencing variations in the usually steady force of gravity.
Years ago, I found out first-hand what it feels like to grit my teeth through a 4-g turn in a T-6 Texan. I climbed into the WWII-vintage trainer without a G-suit. Over the next hour, my stomach lurched through stalls, rolls, Cuban 8s and other air-combat maneuvers. It’s still one of the high points of my life.
But I’ve still never experienced zero-g flight.
If I had an extra $5,000 around, I could change that when Zero G Corporation and its G-Force One plane visit Phoenix on Oct. 19. The modified Boeing 727 takes people for a ride previously available mainly on the famed NASA Vomit Comet – known for helping astronauts get ready for the weightless feeling of space.
Here’s how a zero-g flight works.
You take a 90-minute flight, and the pilot puts the aircraft through a maneuver that simulates the weightlessness of space. Each period of near-weightless flight last about 30 seconds. For up to 7 minutes total, you’ll float in the cabin of G-Force One.
For me, a zero-g flight would rank right up there with my flight in the T-6 Texan, my handful of helicopter flights and my first flight on the Boeing Dreamliner (that last one will be commonplace soon enough – still, a terrific passenger experience on a commercial flight).
Here’s something else that I love: I’m not the only one who dreams of doing stuff like this. Ryan, a 15-year-old diagnosed with lymphoma, wished to take a zero-g flight. Make-A-Wish hooked him up with a flight on G-Force One. Here’s a photo of him the day of his flight.
Now, there are other companies who offer similar experiences. One is in Europe, and one other I found does the flights in a twin-turboprop airplane. Still cool … much cheaper, too. But if the point is to float around – well, you need some room, right?