Ultimate High, Aerobatic Fun!!

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Shiv's bought us some tickets for a "Top Gun" experience with the guys and Gals of the "Ultimate High" Team at Goodwood.

The plan being to chase each other round the sky in bulldog planes, and shoot at each other with lasers or somesuch. WHich I'm sure would have been great fun, and good for de-stressing!!

As it turned out, on Friday afternoon, we got a call from Jo at "Ultimate High" to say one of the Bulldogs was sick, and did we mind swapping to seperate aerobatic sessions in something called an Extra 300. Well, not knowing anything about it, and not wanting to have to re-bok as there weren't many free weekend dates left, we agreed...boy, was that a good move!!

Arriving at Goodwood, the team were all smiles and attention, gave us the 15 minute safety, and basic flying briefing, then while Shivs went to play on a simulator, I got kitted up.

Full flying suit, complete with name badge (Maverick if you must know, Shiv's chose it for me, she had Prowler), parachute, yes, really, how scarey is that!! Then is was time to get strapped in. Well, enjoy the pictures, If you want copies of the pics, or would like some info on any of them, e-mail me.



and I do mean strapped in, the ground crew were great, patient, and prepared to explain everything as many times as you wanted. Explaining yet again, how to egress the plane if the worst comes to the worst.......now, I'm a little nervous!!
Well, by now, there was no escape, Tally Ho, and all that!! Oh, btw, Mark "Greeners" Greenfield was my instructor for the flight, jolly decent sort, and at this point, I was actually feeling pretty good, and quite looking forward to being thrown about a bit ;-)
A few minutes after take off, we had crossed the coast, Mark ahd let me fly straight and level for a bit, then asked me to do a few slowish turn, so he could check I knew which was my left from my right etc. He was quite impressed, which gave me a huge confidence boost!

At this point, I should say, when Mark was telling us about the Extra 300, he was comparing it with a Ferrari (Fast in a straight line, but heavy and a bitch in the corners...Hee..hee). As soon as I touched the stick, I knew this for what it really is, the Caterham of the skies!! Light, accurate, incredibly responsive, and 300Bhp per Tonne, an R300, no question....

Sorry, I got sidetracked, anyway once we were over the coast, Mark did an inverted flight check, just to see if I'd squirreled anything into any of my pockets, and check the straps held etc..bit scarey the first time, but once you relax into the straps actually a fascinating place to view the world!

After that, a quick aileron roll, demoed by Mark, then with me in control...eeek...similarly with a wingover (Chandelle???)...and then thing started to get serious.

Mark showed me a stall turn, I made him do it again, as the stick right, rudder left bit got lost on me the first time round...guess I was enjoying myself too much! Anyway, then it was my turn, and here's me driving, just as the plane is knife-edged, about to head for terra firma!

Then a loop...hooooggeee grin factor this..and Mark was still happy with my driving, check his hands, he's waving to show I'm the one steering...:-) I did corkscrew it a bit, sorry Mark!
Then a half cuban eight, five eighths of a loop, check 1...2...3....roll upright....1...2...3...then pull up level. This is so much fun, and I am really having a ball by now! Concentrating (as you can see....), to get all the bits co-ordinated!

Want to see the video, click here, for a 500kb divx clip

Now, for a half horizontal eight ;-), pull up to 45 degrees or so, check..1..2..3...roll to inverted, check..1..2..3...errr....I'd dropped the nose, "push hard on the stick", says Mark, I'm pushing....at this point we are pulling negative 2g, fantastic!!..eventually, we gained enough height, then pull back, and complete the loop. I could have done these all day!!

Want to see the video, click here, for a 700Kb divx clip

but we were running out of time, so Mark says, "ok, let's try a vertical roll", "sure" says I. He proceeds to pull 4.5g into a vertical climb...at this point, my vision started to close in, a very odd sensation, which I let him know about, he eased off, and completed the roll, and 3 seconds later, I was fine again. But, the first time that happens is very odd, I guess I hadn't expected quite so much g on the vertical pull, another time, I'll be ready ;-)
Well, all good things come to an end, a fantastic experience, Ultimate High?? certainly up there with the best!!
I told you Shiv's booked the tickets, didn't I?? Well, here she is kitted up for action, strapped in and raring to go ;-)
Even though she's not a fan of roller coasters, and she's never sat in the front of a light plane before, she was looking forward to having a go!
Their take off was very fancy, low and slow down the runway after takeoff
Then he tipped it in, as he passed us...Good man!!
As you can see (Oh, almost forgot, the in cockpit shots, are courtesy, of a rather fine mini-dv camera setup!) she was enjoying the rather bumpy take off
First time upside down......
and flying her first ever aileron roll...and not the last either, she wants to go back...yeeeHaaaa!!!!
She may not have flown such an extreme sortie, but the grin says it all!
Here's the bulldog taking off, still may have to go back for the Top Gun thing....looks like good fun!
And here's the Extra 300 heading back for terra firma
Fantastic plane, and an absolute joy to fly!
If anyone wants to book, check out "Ultimate High", and do mention my site, 5 of you book, I get a free trip ;-)
Great, great day out!!