Sky Combat Ace is an Adrenaline Filled Bucket List Item
I have been to Las Vegas so many times over the years that I have lost count. Most of my trips since this desert town grew into its world famous status have been with my family. While there are plenty of things to do with kids in Las Vegas, I have had to pass up on some of my crazier Las Vegas bucket list items.
Since my latest trip to Vegas would be without my wife and daughter in tow, I thought it would be an opportune time to try some over-the-top bucket list items I have always wanted to experience. My first choice was to ride in a stunt plane doing those insane aerobatic maneuvers that you see at the airshows.
GoPro Video Highlights From My Sky Combat Ace Flight
Aerobatics, Fly the Plane, Air Combat or Everything?
Once I knew that I was going to go on a flight, I had to decide which of the experiences I wanted to do during my flight. Sky Combat Ace has a variety of aviation experiences to choose from and all of them were pretty appealing to me. The choices for the flight experiences ranged from non-aerobatic and basic aerobatic to air combat, flying the plane yourself and advanced aerobatics.
The one thing I knew I was definitely going to do was the advanced aerobatics flight, which was described as “a roller coaster without the rails.” Since this flight was going to be a one-time bucket list experience, I chose to throw in a low level bombing run as well as having the pilot teach me to fly my own aerobatic maneuvers. This flight was not for the faint of heart.
My Sky Combat Ace Experience
I drove down to the Sky Combat Ace hangar at the Henderson Executive Airport, which is about 20 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip. After I checked in for my flight, I got fitted with a jumpsuit, picked out my call sign (which was Wingman) and headed into the hangar.
Once in the hangar, my pilot gave me a run through of our Extra 330LC plane, my seat and the instruments surrounding it. After that it was time to get strapped in, throw on our headsets and get ready for takeoff.
Once we were all settled in, the canopy closed and we taxied out onto the runway. After waiting for a few planes to takeoff, we got the approval for “ACE 2” to takeoff. We quickly got onto the far runway, turned south and immediately throttled up the plane engine for a fast sprint down the runway and a smooth takeoff.
The feeling of riding in this small performance plane is a very freeing experience that I have not felt before in other aircraft. Since the plane is small and light, you get a great sense of movement, speed, sight and sounds to where it feels like it’s an extension of yourself.
After our takeoff and on the way to our “flight playground,” my pilot walked me through flying the plane with some simple tasks to get a feel for the plane controls. By the time we got out to the desert, I felt comfortable with flying the plane at a basic level.
As we passed the mountain ridge south of the airport it was time to have some real fun. We started off with a slow aileron roll to “check our seat belts out” as we flew upside down for a few seconds before completing the roll. This intro maneuver will start your adrenaline flowing and get you in the mindset of the thrills that are coming up.
Before each aerobatic maneuver, my pilot would tell me what was coming up and give me a quick explanation of what to expect. So, after that intro slow roll, we quickly started to get into other maneuvers by starting with a full speed double aileron roll. After the exhilarating fast spins of the aircraft, we precisely stopped upright and then after a couple of seconds my pilot tells me it is my turn.
I took the controls and listened to him tell me how to roll the plane. My aileron roll was slow but steady and gave me some confidence for flying the plane. After that, each maneuver we did got more complex and added a lot more excitement. We would trade off with him flying the stunt first and then walking me through flying it.
When I signed up for learning to fly some of my own aerobatic maneuvers, I thought I was just going to do some rolls and loops. So, when my pilot did an advanced stunt like the Hammerhead, I thought I was done with my portion of flying the plane. That was not the case! After flying the Hammerhead, I heard him say through the headphones, “now it’s your turn.” I instinctively laughed it off thinking that there was no way I could pull this one off, but I didn’t hear a “just kidding” coming out of the headphones.
Well, alright then! Lets give this a shot. I took the control stick and listened carefully to my pilot’s instructions as I flew the plane. The Hammerhead maneuver is performed by pulling the plane up into a vertical climb and flying straight up. Then as the airspeed slows, you hit the rudder to rotate the plane – spinning it 180° – which now has the plane in a vertical dive until it gains speed again and then leveling off. Thanks to the great instructions and laser focus I had so as to not mess this up, I pulled off flying a Hammerhead.
After that, it was time for me to just enjoy the ride as we got a bit crazy with a Tail Slide – a vertical climb until the plane’s speed reaches zero and then “slides” back until flipping and diving back down vertically – and a Lomcevak, which I can only describe as the plane tumbling and flipping end over end in what would seem like an out of control aircraft. Check out my Sky Combat Ace GoPro video to see both of these maneuvers and more from my flight.
Sky Combat Ace Aerobatic Flight Highlights
- Tail Slide
- Barrel Roll
- Bombing Run
- Aileron Roll
- High G Turn
This was an amazing and exhilarating experience that was a true bucket list item. Visit the Sky Combat Ace website for more information on the flight experiences that they offer.
Sky Combat Ace Photo Gallery
The Ultimate Las Vegas Bucket List
This Sky Combat Ace flight is a part of our Las Vegas Bucket List article that has over 50 activities and experiences – on and off the Las Vegas Strip. A checklist of things to do that range from wild to mild.
I was provided a complimentary flight for the purpose of reviewing it on our travel blog. Regardless, I only recommend places, activities or services that I would use or visit personally and that I believe our readers would enjoy.