Health

What it’s actually wish to go on a zero-gravity flight like Jeff Bezos


Floating in zero gravity 32,000 ft above Newark Airport is one thing that an individual who’s deathly afraid of heights and susceptible to movement illness in all probability shouldn’t do. 

And but, I did it. 

“I am not the daredevil girl,” I joked with Zero-G pilot Erich Domitrovits, feeling a mixture of concern and pleasure. “I’m the ‘taking selfies by the pool’ girl.”

Domitrovits, who pilots low-to-no gravitation flights on Zero-G’s specifically modified Boeing 727 plane, reassured me I used to be in for the time of my life.

The area leisure firm took over 80 folks into Earth’s troposphere — the bottom degree of the stratosphere — between Sept. 12-18 at Newark. Every ticket price $7,500. (I bought a free spot.) All three flights out there had been offered out.

Prone to motion-sickness and scared of heights, Grace hid her gravity-free jitters behind a cheery smile.
Vulnerable to movement illness and fearful of heights, Grace hid her gravity-free jitters behind a cheery smile.
Asia Grace

Passengers shall be gravity-free for just below eight minutes — nearly twice the time rich risk-takers Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson had been throughout their escapes to area over the summer season.

Earlier than lift-off, Domitrovits defined to my group of 24 how he can be steering the aircraft in 15 parabolic arcs — aerobatic peaks just like a curler coaster’s ascents and drops — at altitudes between 24,000 and 32,000 ft.

Grace (bottom right) and her co-flyers on the Zero-G flight out of Newark Airport.
Grace (backside proper) and her co-flyers on the Zero-G flight out of Newark Airport.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G

On the prime of every arc, we might then plunge right into a 30-degree nosedive, making us weightless for 30 seconds every time.

After our briefing, we strode towards G-Pressure One in our Zero-G astronaut jumpsuits — à la Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and their crew in “Armageddon.”

At first, the aircraft was eerily silent. It was as if a stifling grip of nervousness, pleasure and suspense had us all by the throats. 

We had been every ticketed assigned seats within the rear one-fourth of the 30-foot plane, the place rows of seat-belted chairs had been put in. The remainder of the aircraft — devoid of seats, overhead bins and bogs — was padded with white, impact-resistant mats. 

Zero-G captain, crew and coaches safely guided Grace and her fellow passengers throughout the 90-minute excursion.
Zero-G captain, crew and coaches safely guided Grace and her fellow passengers all through the 90-minute tour.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G

I sat subsequent to a married couple from Alabama who selected the weightless tour to mark their seven-year wedding ceremony anniversary. They exchanged heat smiles and squeezed one another’s fingers for consolation. 

A row behind me was a mother of two from Florida who served as a public relations consultant to astronauts like Buzz Aldrin. She and her pre-teen son and daughter quietly giggled with each other in anticipation of takeoff.    

I, then again, was sweating bullets and self-soothing by softly buzzing the refrain of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”: “Every little thing is gonna be alright.”  

Because the aircraft started taxi-ing down the runway, combat attendants Deb Houts, a retired physics instructor from Florida, and Artwork Scheuermann, a full-time engineer, led passengers by way of a flight security demonstration, whereas a group of Zero-G coaches collected our sneakers. (Along with the flight fits, the corporate gave us every a pair of thick calf-high socks as a way to keep away from bumping into each other’s shoe bottoms or naked ft whereas floating). 

Then, it was go-time. 

Zero-G gave each passenger protective flight gear for the weightless experience.
Zero-G gave every passenger protecting flight gear for the weightless expertise.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G

As soon as the aircraft was within the air, a group of specifically skilled flight coaches instructed us to unbuckle our seat belts, unfold out across the padded space of the cabin and lay down flat on our backs. 

And everybody — from the youngest passenger, a boy no older than 7 years outdated, to the oldest, a sliver-haired man with a beard and bifocals — did so with out making a peep. 

Nobody needed to overlook a syllable of the flight coaches’ directions. 

“Pick a specific spot on the ceiling and look directly at it,” one coach instructed. “Turning your head or moving your eyes around too much can mess with your equilibrium and make you feel a little queasy.”

As an everyday barf-bag grabber, I stored my eyes glued on the top-left nook of a ceiling pad and mentioned a bit prayer over my abdomen. 

However my silent supplication was abruptly interrupted by a sudden blanket of stress that came visiting me because the aircraft started to ascend. 

My flight mates and I futilely tried lifting our legs and arms as a pressure twice the quantity of our particular person physique plenty pinned us to the cushioned ground for an intense 10 seconds. 

Then got here a sudden lightness. 

Grace and her fellow flyers hooped and hollered in excitement upon going weightless.
Grace and her fellow flyers hooped and hollered in pleasure upon going weightless.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G

“Welcome to Mars,” a Zero-G coach mentioned as my fellow passengers and I started lifting off of the bottom, frivolously bouncing round in situations that mimicked the second-smallest planet’s low gravity pull. 

“We’re about one-third of our normal body weights right now,” the coach added as us passengers gawked and gasped whereas we floated round each other. 

“Feet down, coming out,” yelled the flight attendant after about 26 seconds, signaling to us passengers that it was time to put down, stare at some extent on the ceiling and look ahead to the subsequent parabolic arc. 

After touring a simulated Mars, we flipped, swam and summersaulted across the moon’s faint gravitational pressure — at about one-sixth our Earthly weights. 

Then lastly, we went totally weightless. 

“Holy s—t,” laughed one passenger as she glided from one finish of the cabin to the opposite in seconds. “I’m freakin’ Buzz Lightyear right now.”

Grace and her Zero-G passengers enjoy just under eight minutes  of gravity-free floating.
Grace and her Zero-G fellow passengers get pleasure from just below eight minutes of gravity-free floating.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G

The flight coaches tossed Skittles and sprayed water droplets up within the gravity-free area for us to catch in our mouths. 

Feeling momentarily superior to gravity-laden Earthlings, I smugly caught a tiny inexperienced piece of sweet whereas doing an open-air spiral flip. 

We cruised by way of every of the three low-to-no gravity ranges a number of occasions earlier than the flight attendants ushered us again to our seats in preparation for touchdown. From takeoff to landing, the whole expertise lasted a complete of 90 minutes.

And I did get a bit nauseous after our final parabolic arc. However the airsickness didn’t diminish my free floating enjoyable. 

Because the wheels of the aircraft screeched onto the runway, indicating our secure return to strong floor, I felt an awesome sense of aid and accomplishment.

I instantly needed to do it once more.

Asia Grace went gravity-free on a Zero-G weightless flight.
Asia Grace went gravity-free on a Zero-G weightless flight.
Credit score: Stephen Boxall/Zero-G



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