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downundergal Lismore - A travel report by Kerrie
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Lismore,  Australia - flag Australia -  New South Wales
6085 readers

downundergal's travel reports

I feel the need for speed!

  11 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Hold on to your helmet for the most exhilarating, exciting ride of your life.

This is an experience more than a travel story so I hope that you don't shoot me down as I am sure it will appeal to the adventurer's & you enjoy the ride as much as I did!



Take off!
Take off!
I recently celebrated a milestone and I was very lucky to be given a gift voucher for a Combat Strike Jet Mission in a BAC “Strikemaster” Jet so I was going to be “Top Gun” for the day. My childhood dream was to be a fighter pilot but unfortunately at that time my gender (female) immediately counted me out.

So step in the “International Fighter Flight Centre (IFFC)”who operate out of Newcastle about a drive of 10 hours south from where I live. I had to wait until they had travelled to Lismore a small country town near Byron Bay in the north of New South Wales which they do about every three or so months. But the anticipation was well worth the wait.

I was scheduled for a 10am flight but due to bad weather further south the two pilots flew in almost an hour late and I was the second flight of the day so there was a guy due to go up before me. So while we were waiting the excitement was really building up. Lucky for me I am of average height (5’6”) but the poor inductee preceding me was really tall. Now for anyone contemplating doing this just a word of warning, the taller you are the harder this can be your body. The reason for this is that the heart has further to pump blood to your brain so this means you can feel pretty ill afterwards. When the guy before me landed he was really “green” and my partner related to me later that he had to sit and recover for almost a half an hour afterwards.

Favourite spots:
Going in to a loop
Going in to a loop
In this plane you sit side by side with the pilot so you have a really clear view all around including the above your head as the canopy is see through.

We powered up and took off, after we reached a little altitude, Phil increased the speed and gradually took us up in a gentle loop to experience the first of the “G” forces to break me in gently - no worries so far.

What does a “G” force feel like?
It feels like your head decreases to the size of a golf ball as the force pushes the blood in your body towards your feet and resists your heart’s attempts to pump the blood back up to your brain. The more “G’s the more pressure and you may even experience tunnel vision. That’s the reason why most fighter pilots are fairly short.

During our mission we flew up to 700 kilometres an hour (420 miles an hour) and experienced a total of 4 “G”s. That was enough too.

What's really great:
In control
In control
We then did a 360 degree spin then continued cruising in a big sideways loop, then we took a huge upside down loop so that we were looking straight down at the ground upside down.

We then repeated this but cruised along for ages upside down followed by a couple of slow 360 degree rolls. Phil then handed the joystick over to me and after a few minutes of flying and becoming a little familiar with the touchiness of the joystick I then did a full roll myself – what a buzz!! I then cruised along flying through the clouds and as it was time for more trick flying I reluctantly gave up control of the joystick.

Sights:
Lismore travelogue picture
We then did a series of fast start and stop roll overs stopping at 90, 180 and 270 degrees and headed on to our “attack” mission, find and destroy a tarpaulin covering a secret stash of “manure”. We looped back along the coastline and came in low and what could I do; no machine gun I had to make my own sound effects and blow up the enemy!!! No blue tarpaulin can escape. Mission accomplished.

Wow, it was so beautiful cruising along the coast near Byron Bay, after taking in the views at a reasonable speed we then went up into a series of huge backward loops and when we were upside down at the top of the loop we experienced negative gravity so were actually weightless for a couple of seconds – we repeated this and it was just as good the second and third time – just unbelievable.

Then all too soon it was all over.



Accommodations:
I live about two hours north of here so it is an easy drive. But if you are visiting Australia and decide you want to try it Lismore does have some motels or Byron Bay is a short drive away.

Other recommendations:
Lismore travelogue picture
I may have been physically back on the ground but I don’t think I came back to earth for days after.

Just a few tips on what you experience afterwards –
* a real high
* and a craving for carbohydrates (some greasy fried foods hit the spot)
* the need to sleep is overwhelming so make sure you have someone to drive you home. Finally at night you may have some really strange dreams like someone is pressing down on your chest. I didn’t experience this but I slept like the dead!

Is it cheap? Not by a long shot.

Pay the extra and buy the DVD and you can relive your experience over and over again. Not only that you can bore your friends and family to death and they will probably never to speak to you again.

Would I do it again – in an instant.


Published on Thursday June 14th, 2007


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Mon, Jun 18 2007 - 08:54 PM rating by eirekay

This is sooooo cool! Thanks for sharing - may the (G) Force be with you!

Sat, Jun 16 2007 - 01:02 PM rating by marianne

A very unusual way to celebrate a milestone!

Sat, Jun 16 2007 - 07:19 AM rating by rangutan

What a very unusual and fantastic experience! Thanks for a very special report.

Fri, Jun 15 2007 - 07:40 AM rating by frenchfrog

Very exciting experiene, you were so lucky! Thanks for sharing.

Fri, Jun 15 2007 - 12:25 AM rating by shalini_md

Wow! Must have been a thrilling experience for sure.And you describe it so vividly that I see myself in the cockpit too experiencing the Gforce :-) This report is so different from the usual trip reports in theme and content.

Thu, Jun 14 2007 - 06:35 AM rating by akhila

A thrilling report. What an experience! 4*s and thanks for sharing.

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