Jet Fighter Ride – Top Gun 25 Mission

A jet fighter ride is undoubtedly the most exhilarating adrenalin-rush experience you’ll ever encounter and the Top Gun 25 Mission is intense!

Why a jet fighter ride

To be honest and ever since I can remember, it’s been a dream of mine to take a ride in a jet fighter.

Who wouldn’t want to travel at speeds of 750-kilometres (466 miles) per hour?

Maybe it was the influence of growing up close to a Royal Australian Air Force Base and seeing jets cut through the sky at alarming speeds followed by the roaring noise in their aftermath, leaving me bewildered, wishing, and longing…

Fast track to 2010 and my partner surprises me with an amazing Top Gun 25 Mission Jet Fighter ride for my birthday. Yes, I’m very spoilt!

I learnt of the surprise before my birthday only because whilst learning to ride a motorbike, I broke my thumb, which required surgery only a few weeks before the flight and not sure if I could go up after the surgery. The flight is also an 8-hour drive away in another State so have to take time off work.

With my thumb still in a hand-cast after surgery, I go up in the most sensational experience of my life – a jet fighter ride in the gorgeous Hunter Valley region (Australia).

Flight prep

The anticipation builds during the one-and-a-half-hour drive from Newcastle to the beautiful Hunter Valley wine region to arrive at the Jet Flight office.

Jet pilot Mark Pracy greets us, provides a fashionable khaki flight suit that’s a tad oversized.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Adding the important and critical parachute, should something go amiss – comforting thought – at least I’ll go down without regrets…

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

…and it’s on to the next phase of the pre-talk.

A mission brief including how to handle a G-force without passing out and a familiarisation tour of the Jet Fighter aircraft – much to absorb at this heightened state of sheer excitement.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Finally, it’s a leisurely stroll out to meet The Beast – ‘calm before the storm’.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Introducing the L39 Albatros

The L39 Albatros is claimed as ‘the most popular jet warbird in the world’ and I’m about to encounter its incredulous forces and thrusts.

Feeling a little lame as can’t use my left-hand to pull myself up onto the aircraft – hurts too much – a stern push up is not far away. Nah, he’s gentle really…

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Strapped in and ready to go…the apprehension intensifies.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia

Mark runs through a checklist before going through the necessary ground control checks…

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

…and we’re ready for take-off in this sleek beast!

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern


Unlike taxiing down the runway in a large or even a small plane, the sensation of a jet fighter definitely feels different – much faster for a start…

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

…and also takes off much faster – maybe this is just in my head?

Intense 25-minute Top Gun Mission

The 25-minute phenomenal flight begins with a little speed of course.

Comfortable with that, the flight quickly turns into swerving acrobatic figure eights. Along the way, Mark checks in that I’m still alert.

Telling me to brace myself so as not to pass out, I tighten my body’s muscles and hope for the best before tripping out on the G-force flying. Seeing the earth slip away at an alarming speed whilst propelling vertically into the sky is an unimaginable and exciting sensation.

And, if that’s not enough, rolling the aircraft fuels a new intensity until the double-roll. Mark hands the control over to me in the back and I use the stick to roll the jet – unbelievable!

This video from the jet pilot Mark Pracy gives you a taste of what happens during this flight…

…and in Mark’s words, you’re thrust through aerobatic “G Turns, Loops, Rolls, Cuban Eights, Hesitation Rolls, and Vertical Rolls” at a height of approximately 8,000ft – not adrenaline or thrilling enough for you?

Then maybe experiencing these manoeuvres at up to 5Gs and finishing off by soaring at alarming speeds through long hilly valleys in a Top Gun mission flight, before landing is enough to make your whole body quiver and heart palpitate.


With the Top Gun flight over but still on an incredible high, landing is super fast and the L39 comes to an abrupt standstill, before taxiing back to reality.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

This jet fighter starred in the James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies and Lord Of War starring Nicolas Cage – how cool is that?

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Astonished that I survived, the beaming smile tells the story – can’t believe I just did that and other words of exhilaration flood from my mouth.

Notice the sweat stains coming through on my flight suit? I’m ringing wet beneath – Mark’s suit is dry as a bone, nerves of steel. Throughout the flight, I remember my right-leg shaking uncontrollably – nerves or adrenaline?

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern

Coming down to earth and surveying the beast that just gave me the ride of my life.

Top Gun25 Mission, Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Photo credit: Neil Lintern


The Top Gun 25 Mission jet flight is the most incredible adrenaline rush that I’ve ever experienced, even more so than jumping out of an aeroplane – post coming out next.

This flight propels your heart in your mouth just as you’re thrust across the sky numerous times and remember enduring this fabulous high a week later.

If you’re in two minds about this flight, then all I say is go for it!

Jet Ride The Hunter Valley Facebook page should you wish to see more.

Getting there

Jet Flight in the Hunter Valley is the only place in Australia that you can experience this flight.

Brisbane to Newcastle

Taking the coast road from north Brisbane (Queensland), the long drive to Newcastle (New South Wales) takes around eight to nine hours.

Depending on traffic, the number of times you stop, and the number of drivers, you can arrive sooner.

Watch your speed though as the New South Wales police love to catch interstate drivers and seem to be hiding along the highway waiting to pounce.

I know as I was caught for speeding on another occasion driving from Brisbane to Sydney on my own – it’s a long lonely highway and very easy to suffer from lead foot syndrome.

Staying with my sister in Newcastle for a few days, it’s a lovely catch-up whilst waiting for the jet fighter ride.

Newcastle to the Hunter Valley

From Newcastle, the picturesque drive to the beautiful Hunter Valley takes just over an hour.

The Hunter Valley is renown as one of Australia’s wine-growing regions and boasts many wineries, including boutique wineries.

Why not stop at one of these for a spot of lunch and a glass or two of delicious Shiraz or Semillon wine, famous in the Hunter Valley after the jet fighter ride if you can eat after the flight.

Thought I’d throw in this video of Mark Pracy in the incredibly dangerous sport of Jet Racing – wander if passengers are allowed? 😉

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

78 responses to “Jet Fighter Ride – Top Gun 25 Mission”

  1. musictrgrlinnyc Avatar

    I could see myself trying the flight, in general, but not the tricks. My stomach couldn’t take it, but it’d be really cool to go up in a fighter jet!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Do it! I thought I’d throw up also, but think the adrenaline kicks in and you don’t have time to think about being sick! 😉
      Tried your site again but can’t get into it…

      1. musictrgrlinnyc Avatar

        I didn’t know visitors were having trouble. I’d like to fix it. What sort of error does the system come up with when you try? Thx for letting me know!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Safari says it can’t load the page – that’s all I get. No problem at all. I’d like to check out your site. 🙂

  2. musictrgrlinnyc Avatar

    This is so cool!!!!!!!!!! You are so adventurous!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved reading this!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the feedback Gwyneth!
      Yes, it was incredibly cool and would do it all again – you should try a flight!
      Tried to visit your site but Safari couldn’t open the page for some reason…weird.

  3. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    Wow, that looks like an amazing experience! I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do that!!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was an incredible experience Lulu and one I’d do again!

  4. Abirbhav Avatar

    You are really an inspiration. I mean that.
    You have graduated from a 750cc motorcycle to a Jet Fighter plane with flying colours..!! More power to you.. 🙂 🙂
    Keep inspiring more..!! Wish you loads of success.. 😀 😀

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, not a 750cc, I’m only allowed to ride up to a 650cc on my type of licence. The Jet Fighter ride was incredible and a once-off in the safety of the pilot, but exhilarating nonetheless! 😉
      Many thanks for your great feedback!

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        Oh..!! My bad..!! 650cc is no less.. Hope you achieve your dream of flying a space shuttle as well.. ☺️
        Keep inspiring..!!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, me too! 😉

  5. Lisa Dorenfest ~ One Ocean At A Time Avatar

    😂 Who wouldn’t want to travel at speeds of 750-kilometres (466 miles) per hour?

    Me, at least in reality. Virtually, however, I couldn’t wait to ride shot-gun with you. happily donning my virtual parachute. And in Hunter Valley no less!

    But then, I start to get nervous as we launch into the Figure 8s and prepare for G-Force speeds. Needless to say, my favorite part of the ride was the landing :-).

    Love the picture that Neil took of you walking away from the craft.

    Great experience. You never fail to impress me with your bravery!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, you made me 😂 Lisa!
      This ride was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever experienced and would definitely do another one again – absolutely loved it!
      Nah, not brave, just want to experience as much as I can whilst I’m on this earth…

      1. Lisa Dorenfest ~ One Ocean At A Time Avatar

        Me too …but just closer to the surface 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha funny as… 😂

  6. Felipe Adan Lerma Avatar

    Wow! I think I would’ve soaked the whole suit! What a thrill! Can feel it through all your words & pics, Nilla! 😊

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for the feedback Adan – it was an incredible experience!

  7. mydustyflipflops Avatar

    Oh my god, what an experience!! Looks like you had a ball! Like the skydiving it’s not one I would do, I was getting dizzy just watching the videos, hahaha! Don’t think I could handle those rolls!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, I much preferred this one than the skydiving but didn’t get any pain with the Jet Fighter ride. The rolls are pretty incredible!

  8. Dave Ply Avatar

    That does sound intense and probably a hell of a lotta fun, although I’d be afraid I’d barf all over the cockpit.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha I thought I would also but luckily I held it together, think it was the exhilaration that took over.

  9. equinoxio21 Avatar

    Amazing. You have nerves of steel my dear… 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Nahh, just up for a bit of fun.
      Only one word came out of my mouth when I landed… 😂

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Holy smoke? No, that’s two words…

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, if only the words were that tame! 😉
        Seriously though, it was mind-blowing and something I’d definitely do again, unlike skydiving – check back on Sunday for that post.

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Mind-blowing is most certainly the word. 🙂
        Skydiving? I jumped 12 times… Loved every jump. (Going to that post)

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes, it was mind-blowing!
        Wow, 12 times – you’re game.

      5. equinoxio21 Avatar

        It had become addictive… In a very nice way.
        When the weather was bad (windy) on Saturday morning, and we couldn’t jump it was like a lost week-end…
        Lots of adventures and frights but worth it all the 12 times…

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I believe it is an addiction as a friend of mine was really into it and did over 2,000 jumps – he no longer has his gear as it got too expensive to go up in Australia.
        Was the skydiving in Africa or another country? You should write something about skydiving if you haven’t already. 😉

      7. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Yes, it becomes addictive. There is no “high” like that and many of my friends had many, many jumps under their belt.
        It was in Africa. I have the story ready in my head. Just need to sit down and write it. Should probably be this year… 🙂

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I can imagine – adrenaline addiction. If you survived 12 jumps then the safety must be pretty good in Africa.
        Fantastic, I look forward to reading about the story later this year (no pressure)… 😉

      9. equinoxio21 Avatar

        You’ll be the first to know when I post it.

      10. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thanks! 😉

  10. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad Avatar

    This looks incredible! What an experience.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi clazz, it was an incredible experience and one that I’d do again! 😉

  11. Patty Avatar

    Wow, you dare devil ! Wishing you a sparkling 2020 with safe travels, dear Nilla. XxX

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Patty and wishing you a fantastic 2020 also! x

  12. poofbeegoneblog Avatar

    Incredible once in a lifetime opportunity! You’re definitely braver than I am!!!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you and yes it was an incredible experience! Ha, ha, braver or silly? 😉

  13. The Year I Touched My Toes Avatar

    Nilla, I am with Pam. I KNOW I would puke. My god – G force, vertical climbs, the lot. It is a very cool thing to do but I am hopeless with things like this. What a great gift to get, especially as it was something you had wanted to do for a long time. Very informative post as usual Nilla. UM, the heading under your fourth photo down? ? Louise

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Funny, after getting the rundown I though I would puke also, but think I was too tense with adrenaline but also determined not to…I do get seasick when it’s a bad sea…
      Calm before the storm? Or ‘The Beast’?

  14. Pradeep Menon Avatar

    Amazing one time experience 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Pradeep, I’d love to go up again but it’s too expensive. Maybe space next? 😉

      1. Pradeep Menon Avatar

        Yeah why not?? For those seeking adventures even the sky is not the limit 😉

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Cool! You’d love the ride and you’re right, the sky isn’t a limit! 😉

  15. the eternal traveller Avatar

    What an adventure! I’m not sure I would be able to do that.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It’s funny, I didn’t think twice about doing this and was thrilled when my partner told be about the present.
      It was an intense flight!

  16. Valerie Cullers Avatar

    That looks like the thrill of a lifetime!!! My husband and sons would love to be on it…I’ll take a pass! 😍

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was Valerie and one that I won’t forget! Ha, ha, where’s your sense of adventure… 😉

      1. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        It took a right turn after I had kids and it hit a dead end….:)

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ah right, I never had kids so maybe that’s my problem… 😉

      3. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        I must admit I reined it in after quite a lot of crazy things in my teens and early twenties!!! 🙂

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Time to reign out again Valerie… 😉

  17. Latitude Adjustment: A Tale of Two Wanderers Avatar

    How exciting. Lucky you. I loved the two videos. Must be 100 times the adrenaline rush versus sky diving. You are a lady to be admired! Super Wow!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, thanks for the great feedback and yes I am lucky.

      The Jet Fighter ride is the most intense experience – you really have to try it one day!
      Check out my skydiving post next week…cheers, Nilla 😉

  18. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

    Very impressive
    Honestly, i don’t have the courage to do that because i’m actually afraid of heights😂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks! Ah well, that’s a big problem.
      Stay tune for my next post on jumping out of an aeroplane! 😉

  19. Nilzeitung Avatar

    Super !!!! Toll

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you – it’s an incredible flight!

      1. Nilzeitung Avatar

        Thanks – it’s an incredible journey! yes you shouldn’t eat or drink a lot beforehand, ??? I think in Germany there is something (not expensive)
        I was also on the ground with Renault alpine with more than 400 HP twice and never again, whether above or below, asked Immission.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, I didn’t dare eat anything.
        Wow, that sounds very cool!

      3. Nilzeitung Avatar

        Ha, ha, I didn’t eat anything. ((that’s happy minutes for Jennie in the driver’s seat,))

        Wow, that sounds very cool! ,,, yes yes ,, (((yes is really nerve tickling, but St. John’s wort tea always helps.))
        wish you a great peaceful, stress-free 2020 good health and success with your blog. !!!

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Wise move!
        I’ll have to try that tea, I have heard of St. John’s Wort tea, but never tried it yet…
        Many thanks for your well wishes and hope that 2020 is a fantastic year for you also. 🙂

      5. Nilzeitung Avatar

        Thank you very much, I am also very pleased if you have more success in your blog !!! with tea ACTUALLY YES THIS TEA MAKES OUR NERVES VERY STRONG; that didn’t work with young or old, can try and won’t hurt, thank you very much !!!🙂

  20. Giovanni Augello Avatar

    That’s amazing!!! So cool!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Giovanni! You must try this ride of a lifetime – it’s exhilarating and such an adrenaline rush. 😉

      1. Giovanni Augello Avatar

        Who knows? Never say never… 😉

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Absolutely! Never close any doors in life – always leave them open as you never know what options come your way. 😉

  21. TravelSeizeRelease Avatar

    It’s amazing!!! Best luck with your upcoming journey🙌

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It is an amazing experience and many thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment!

  22. pam@ichoosethis Avatar

    I think I might puke!! Glad you loved so much though!!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, it’s too much of an adrenaline rush to even think about puking!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was WOW Lydia! Incredible!

      1. Lydia Potter Avatar

        I’m sure!

    2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hope you get a chance to do this! 😉

      1. Lydia Potter Avatar

        Me too. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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