Have you ever had the desire to ride with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds? Well, watching this new video may get you pretty close to the experience.
Photographer Blair Bunting headed to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and recorded stunning footage showing him accompany the U.S. Air Force for a ride in an F-16.
“Sitting in the jet, G-suit, oxygen mask and seat belts hooked in, the nerves disappear,” Bunting wrote in a blog post, recalling the experience. “At that moment the world fades away, nothing goes through my mind. All this time thinking of what it would be like gives way to reality. The moment to wonder if I would stay conscious or get sick was gone. As the jet engine fires up, I know that I am along for the craziest ride of my life…. time to sit back and enjoy the ride… and take a selfie.”
Things then took a drastic turn.
“Now let me try my best to explain what 9 G’s feels like… Firstly, in no way is it comfortable, not even close. I began to feel my face melting away as the skin in my cheeks pulled down to my mouth,” Bunting described. “The color from my vision was the next thing to fade away, first the reds, then the greens. Squeezing like hell, I did everything I could to get air into my lungs as the G-suit wrenched it out.”
Ultimately, Bunting made it through the ride successfully, without losing consciousness.
“While the engaging portion of the flight may have only lasted an hour, it was already starting to hit me with what I had just experienced,” he said.
“I thought about the kids like myself that looked up every time a jet flew by and the cadets at the academy striving to be the next Thunderbirds,” Bunting added. “However, more than anything, I thought about the honor that had bestowed me to be sitting in the seat of a Thunderbird jet.”
Take a Ride in the F-16:
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter