Taunton-born Louis Skupien, 20, an entrepreneur, podcaster and athlete could hardly believe it when he was asked if he wanted to take the controls of the L39 Albatros fighter jet.
It all started some months ago when Louis hosted graduate fighter pilot Matthew 'Whiz' Buckley from the US Navy as his guest on his 50th podcast. At the end of the podcast, Whiz, who alongside his impressive military aviation career founded the No Fallen Heroes Foundation which aims to halt Veterans' suicides, invited Louis out to Miami. "He invited me to fly out to Miami, Florida, to 'jump in the back seat of his fighter jet, pull some Gs and bend the jet around'," said Louis.
Louis didn't need to think twice and this month he flew out and met Whiz in his hangar at Pompano Beach. "After a briefing and pre-flight prep, I found myself suited up in a G suit, in the backseat of the L39 Albatros and taxiing down the runway," said Louis.
"During the flight in the L39, I was able to fly the jet myself and perform some aerobatic manoeuvres. "However, Whiz was the one to take us through several very high G force manoeuvres. "We performed a G Warm, Barrel Rolls, the Cuban 8, several very sharp turns that had us pulling 6.5 Gs and seeing tunnel vision. "We also did a 'low level attack run' over a river leading to Lake Okeechobee, where we gave several fishing boats the fly by of their lives at 500mph and had to pull up to avoid some telephone lines - yep that’s how low we were flying."
Louis added: "The experience was incredible and I was able to record the whole flight from multiple camera angles. "It took many hours, but I edited and uploaded a video of the day to my YouTube channel, which is now gaining explosive traction."