Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published September 18th 2012
Have a wild or mild time above the skies of Caloundra
Ever wondered what the Sunshine Coast looked like upside down, inside out and back to front? Neither did I but I've got a good idea of what it's like after a joy ride with Warbirds Sunshine Coast. The Calounda Airport based operation offer thrilling aerobatic flights in a Russian built military training aircraft.
The aircraft was impressive – a Yakovlev Yak-52. It's a two sea Soviet military training aircraft. I'm told it was designed originally as a primary aerobatic trainer for students who would later transition to other Soviet jet aircraft.
It all looked very confronting - but you won't be touching any of these
The Specifications were Wingspan: 9.3m Length: 7.745m Propeller diameter: 2.4m Empty weight: 1002kg Max weight: 1315kg
Maximum speed: 420km/h Cruise speed (70% power): 240km/h
This was a particularly warm day as well and taking into account the time you spend on the runway and setting up you could easily spend up to an hour in the sun so plan ahead. I'll also make mention of getting into the aircraft - you've got to be careful where you place your feet. It actually sounds scarier than it is, there will be someone there helping you the whole way.
Looking out over the wing and Caloundra - what a sight
After the briefing and formalities, it was onto the runway for take off. After a brief wait we were off for our 20 minutes – which doesn't sound like long but you'll be pretty exhausted once it's all said and done. Our flight took us over the northern tip of Bribie Island, offering stunning views of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Mount Coolum and the Glasshouse Mountains.
The pilot was extremely courteous, informative and knowledgeable. He wouldn't do anything without checking first if I would be OK with it. I had a big heavy headset plugged in so we could talk the entire time. I'm not a nervous flyer yet he helped to put me at east. It could be as wild or as mild as I liked – and I opted for the former.
The pilot pulled off backflips, climbs, falls, rotations, barrel rolls and more. My favourite and perhaps most terrifying was when we climbed until the plane stalled, then gravity got us and turned the plane around, face down over the Pacific Ocean as the engine kicked back in. That headset got particularly heavy at times like during the loops and that freefall, it even fell off a couple of times.
At $490 some might find the price a bit steep, but considering what they'll put you through up there I think it's worth every penny. This would make for a great birthday gift. Either treat or torture someone you love by watching them fly through the air upside down.