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Awesome: Zero Gravity Weightless Parabolic Flights in Las Vegas

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 13th April 2007 2:13pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 1


Just when you thought the only option a Vegas tripper may have at emulating Superman was being thrown from the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere, here comes Zero Gravity Weightless Parabolic Flights.

WTF does that mean? Well... Zero Gravity Weightless Parabolic Flights are mini airplane rides - in this case, a Boeing 727 comically called G-Force One - wherein you are transported into the *real* stratosphere for a series of 15 or so loopdiloops and maneuvers (called parabolas) that make the plane essentially "weightless" for a period of time. During microgravity, passengers essentially "fly" around the fuselage of the airplane, do flips, spins, Superman moves - all that fun stuff astronauts do.

The maneuver is somewhat like a roller coaster in that the plane is initially pulled up to approximately 45 degrees 'nose high'. Next the plane is 'pushed over' the top to reach the zero-gravity segment of the parabolas. For the next 25 - 30 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. At approximately 30 degrees 'nose low' a gentle pull-out is started which allows the Flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. Finally, the g-force is increased smoothly to about 1.8 g's until the aircraft reaches a flight altitude of 24,000 feet. The maneuver is then repeated.

The weightlessness experienced by everyone inside the airplane is actually equivalent to the type of "free fall" you experience when sky diving. In this case however, the body of the aircraft surrounds you and protects you from the on-rushing wind. At the end of the free fall period, the aircraft also scoops you up and carries you back up to the top of the arc to begin the free fall process again.

This sounds like it could be quite an experience, but probably dangerous as all get out. Not being officially trained in air travel engineering, but having some sense of physics, we can possibly surmise that such maneuvering could do a lot of potential damage to an airplane (over the long term). Any of you airplane nuts out there - we know a coupla of our readers are pilots - please feel free to shed a little light on what's really going on here.

The price for a Zero G flight is $3,500 + tax. Travel insurance is not included. Zero G does not offer refunds on whatever buffets may eject from your system as a result of micro gravity.



Comments & Discussion:

I was up for doing this until I saw the price tag. This is pretty much the same type of flights NASA does in their Vomit Comets used in zero-g training for the astronauts. All of the weightless scenes in the Ron Howard film "Apollo 13" were filmed using one of the NASA jets used for weightless training. NASA retired their KC-135s they used for these flights several years back and the first one they retired had done over 58,000 parabolas. One thing to remember is that aircraft, especially commercial and military a/c are designed to handle forces greater than what the typical a/c would normally undertake in a typical flight.

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