Fly yourself or be flown by an expert pilot in an unforgettable aerobatics experience
Alasdair’s recommended Aerobatics gift day
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This aerobatics experience is my favourite because it’s the cheapest way to actually get to fly the plane yourself. It’s also available at locations across the UK so you won’t need to travel as far.
What happens on an aerobatics experience?
You get into a plane with an experienced stunt pilot, and zoom through the sky in a blur of spinning, roaring g-forces. That’s it basically. The average time in the air is about 30 minutes. Any shorter might be a bit too short, and any longer will usually require the experience to be more expensive.
The rest of the time is usually spent with housekeeping, such is health and safety information information on arrival and a debriefing after the flight. Usually you’ll be at the airport or flight centre for 2-3 hours, but make sure you check out the specific information on your chosen experience before you buy.
Which are the best aerobatics days?
It’s a matter of choice. My recommended experience at the top of the page is a great, generic aerobatics experience, but if you want to choose another, there are a number of variable they you can use to decide. The main differences between the experiences is the amount of time spent flying, the type of plane, and whether or not you get to take the controls.
The planes are usually either a Slingsby T-67 Firefly or a Bulldog, both propeller driven machines which are favoured by jet fighter pilots in training. They’re so light and manoeuvrable that they can turn on a sixpence and spin through the sky like a toy. A couple of the other experiences use vintage planes such as biplanes, but these are clearly marked in the title.
If you really like old planes then go ahead and book a biplane flight, but for everyone else, I can recommend the normal planes – they’re more than thrilling enough.
To fly yourself or not to fly?
As the price of these experiences rises, you get more involvement in the experience. The cheapest experiences are a 30 minute passenger ride, where the pilot spins and pivots the plane while you grip onto your seat.
As the experiences reach around £200, you start to be able to fly the plane yourself. This isn’t as scary as it seems, as the planes all have dual controls and there’s nothing you can crash into into the sky. These are my favourite aerobatics experiences because you get so involved, and the price isn’t much more than the basic passenger flight. I’d definitely suggest that if you’re buying an aerobatics gift, try to buy one where you get to take over the controls for a few minutes.
Aerobatics with combat experiences or fighter pilot skills
These experiences all deal with generic aerobatics and stunt flying. I’ve found two subcategories of aerobatics, which are flying with a jet fighter pilot and the Top Gun experience, where you can dogfight with another plane, while mastering aerobatic stunts.
If you’re happy with a normal aerobatics flight, then here’s an up-to-the-minute list of every experience available in the UK today.
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