My hop finally came today after reporting to Ellington Airfeild at 7am. I was suited up, attached to my electrodes and sat down for a solid half hour of three seperate breifings (think pre-flight safety briefing on a commercial aircraft but in an acrobatic jumbo jet). The Vomit Comet du jour was a 727 operated by Zero G corp, a contractor NASA ocasionally uses to supplement their own C-9.
Once on board and airborne, I was tended by the sonographer, hooked into my ICG (impedance cardiogram) equipment. We headed skyward in the hot Houston morning as thunder heads kept at bay to the north. Our flight path would take us south over the Gulf, with a quick 180 degree turn just before Mexican airspace.
My heart (as reported by 2 different measurements) was already racing as we leveled off and pulled into our first 30-second, 10,000 ft climb. What catches the novice off guard about beginning a 10,000ft dive in a 200 foot long aircraft is how very fast you flip from 2 Gs (making my body over 300lbs) into a low or 0 Gravity state. it is literally as fast as closing a door.
Rereading the last paragraph, its obvious I’ve made the mistake of reducing this experience to amazing numbers. Conveying the feeling, especially the all consuming motion sickness that enveloped me a half hour in, is not at all easy. It is physically exhausting and totally unnatural. Maybe imagine running on a treadmill at high speed while its rotating horizontally, in the back of a windowless van driving at high speed through the Alps. Maybe thats close. When it was over I took an involuntary nap on a concrete floor in an airplane hangar.
The real good footage on board (including a little narrative of the flight) will be posted soon. I need to edit the video a little, but stay tuned (it features a section where the camera got away and floated freely in front of me… way cool). For now, here is the gallery of the whole trip. there are a bunch of new pictures at the bottom.
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157622024643756″]