As Mika did the plane-equivalent of flooring it, my heart leaped several beats. The small aircraft had barely hit 80 mph when it lifted off the runway and screamed into the blue Texas sky.
The sensation of pulling Gs was unlike anything I could have imagined. My face suddenly felt heavy, as if an NFL linebacker was hanging off of my cheeks. As we pulled in towards the gate, less than a hundred feet off the ground, I realized I had stopped breathing. By the time I remembered to exhale we were hurtling through the gate at more than 200 mph. This maneuver brought to life all the fantasies my eight-year-old self ever had of being a fighter pilot.
I had barely dipped into this reverie when I realized I was upside down. Mika had snapped us through a barrel roll as we climbed out. As we inverted I almost involuntarily reached out to grab the cockpit, forgetting that I was strapped in.
My embarrassment was short lived, though, as we soon began the real maneuvers. I was expecting to go through a few maneuvers to ease things in, but as soon as we had clearance from the tower he told me to take the stick for the loop. Yes, that's me right there.