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Fly in a T6 Warbird is Checked Off of My 2016 Bucket List

T6 Warbird flight via Cloud 9 Living

Fly in a T6 Warbird was listed on my 2016 bucket list. I found it on Cloud 9 Living when I was searching their sight for inspiration. I didn’t even know what a T6 Warbird looked like or what it was used for; I mean, besides the obvious thought of war. The description on Cloud 9 Living said, “Feel the G forces during your Warbird adventure flight as you carve up the sky with some high powered flying.” That was all I needed to add it to my list. Air adventures have been some of my favorite bucket list items. From piloting a helicopter, airplane, glider, parachute, fighter jet, and jetpack to performing aerobatics over the Pacific Ocean in a biplane, the sky is filled with extreme adventures for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers.

On the day of my flight, I woke up at 7 am filled with anticipation. If my experiences with extreme flights in the past were any indication of how today was going to go, I could have one of the best adventures of my life. The flight was with Aviator Flight Training in Upland, California which is about an hour drive. Even though my flight wasn’t until 1 pm, I couldn’t stand the anticipation and I left by 11 am.
T6 Warbird flight with Aviator Flight Training

“I feel the need… the need for speed.”
Top Gun

When I arrived at Upland Airport, Daniel, the owner of Aviator Flight Training and my pilot for the afternoon, gave me a flight suit. It was optional but I felt like I needed to go all in.
T6 Warbird flight via Cloud 9 LivingThen, it was time to get in. Tim, another pilot at Aviator Flight Training, helped me get into the cockpit and strapped me in, including buckling my parachute. As he explained what to do if the plane went down, I listened with complete and utter fear. Would I actually be capable of pulling the handle, opening the hatch, and deploying my parachute in an emergency situation? It all seemed highly unlikely. Would I have time for all of that? That seemed highly unlikely as well. Oh well; I’d go down smiling.
T6 Warbird Flight with Aviator Flight Training

When we took off, it was immediately intense and faster than I anticipated. I quickly snapped a photo with my phone and put it securely in my pocket. The GoPro would need to do the rest of the work. I was going to sit back and enjoy the ride. And scream my head off.

We flew toward the mountains and within minutes we were already doing barrel rolls. I’m glad I have the video footage because I still feel like it was all a dream.
Aerobatics in a T6 Warbird

We topped 220 mph and over 4 G’s. We flew through the mountains sideways and upside down. The window was closed but I still felt completely free of obstructions. I could see everything, including the ground which felt extremely close at times. Thankfully, I didn’t feel free of obstructions around my body. I pulled the seat belt tighter and tighter until I could feel it pushing against my collar bone. It wasn’t uncomfortable; instead it made me feel safe. My fear was gone and I was on Cloud 9.
Aviator Flight Training - Cloud 9 Living

Daniel talked to me the whole time (well, when I wasn’t screaming or laughing) and his calmness was even more reassuring. I was confident in him and asked for more. My cheeks were hurting from smiling and laughing so much. I felt like a little kid on a roller coaster for the first time. All of that childhood joy, excitement, and anticipation was brimming over.

When we landed, I was shaking with adrenaline. I climbed down from the T6 Warbird, I hugged Daniel. He had given me one of the greatest rides of my life and I will forever remember his name and associate it with this adventure. He has the type of career that has a lasting impact on his customers.

T6 Warbird flight with Aviator Flight Training

Some experiences are so great that they stay with you and ingrain themselves in the deep crevasses of your brain. Clearly from the smile on my face as we hang above the clouds near Mt. Baldy, I am in love with aerobatic flight. There are many things that need to come together nicely to create this experience. With 18 years experience, Daniel was a great fit for my adrenaline-filled adventure. Cloud 9 Living provided the inspiration for the flight and my desire to experience all forms of aviation was the perfect combination to create a lasting memory that can’t be replaced or forgotten.

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21 thoughts on “Fly in a T6 Warbird is Checked Off of My 2016 Bucket List

  1. Voyager says:

    Wow! I want to add this to my bucket list! 🙂

    1. Lesley says:

      You should. It’s one of my favorite adventures. Have you tried any other flight experiences?

  2. sabrina says:

    This topgun experience must be great! I think I’ll seach for something similar in Italy.
    Thank you for sharing and giving me this crazy idea!

  3. av says:

    Were you upside down the entire time?

    1. Lesley says:

      No. We did a few flips and rolls and we spent a lot of time sideways. 😉

      Here’s a link to the video –

  4. Katie says:

    So cool! I can’t even imagine what it is like to feel the force going that fast and going upside down! I would probably be a tad afraid, though I’m assuming the adrenaline would push me through! A great way to start your 2016 bucket list!

    1. Lesley says:

      I was scared in the beginning but you’re right about the adrenaline; once it started flowing, I lost that fear and just enjoyed the adventure. Have you tried anything similar?

  5. Holy crap, now this is what I call an ultimate adventure! Glad you ticked off one item in your bucket list which seemed to be the hardest item! Thanks for sharing your experience! Xx

    1. Lesley says:

      This one was only an hour drive from me so I knew it was possible this year; some of the other items might not be so easy to accomplish. What’s on your list this year?

  6. Stefan says:

    Oh man that looks amazing and you look super cool in the photo. Reminded me of the close up shot of Anakin in Star Wars when he was flying upside down… The views must have been just magnificent!!!

    1. Lesley says:

      I enjoyed the view the most when we were between the mountains, but the entire ride was spectacular.

      Being compared to Anakin might be my favorite compliment this year 😉

  7. Mar says:

    Wow what a cool flight!It must have been so exhilarating! I recently took several light aircrafts across Namibia and the pilot in one of them kept turning 90 degrees so we were perpendicular to the floor. It was making my heart skip a beat!

    1. Lesley says:

      That must have been amazing! Namibia is one of my favorite countries in the world. So much varied beauty. What else did you get to experience there? Estosha? The coast? Please feel free to share links if you have them. 🙂

  8. LeAnna says:

    It’s like your own personal (crazier) roller-coaster! That looks like so much fun! But, I agree, I think I’d have the same thoughts running through my head as they explained how to use the parachute.

    1. Lesley says:

      It only lasted until I took off then I forgot about it. There is so much happening all around that you’re just in the moment. It’s amazing. Would you try it?

  9. Corinne says:

    Fun, fun, fun! Love your upside-down pics.

  10. That is Cool with a capital “C”, but you are way braver than I am. Kudos for realizing a dream. 😉

  11. Meg Jerrard says:

    Wow this sounds amazing! Adding it to my bucketlist too! Love the photos of you in aerobatic flight, I can only imagine how memorable and exciting that must have been. And those views! Thanks for the inspiration – I have a feeling this will be an adventurous year!!

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