A PODCASTER from Barrington was invited to fly in “the best two-seat aerobatic plane in the world" by the British Aerobatic Academy.

Louis Skupien, who previously recorded an episode while flying in the Top Gun graduate’s fighter jet and also flying in the RedBull Aerobatic Helicopter, recently joined pilot Adrian Willis.

Louis explained: “I was very kindly invited to the British Aerobatic Academy in Fowlmere to fly with Adrian Willis in the best two-seat Aerobatic Plane in the world, the Extra 330 LX.

Chard & Ilminster News: Louis Skupien (front) with Adrian WillisLouis Skupien (front) with Adrian Willis (Image: Contributed)

“Adrian Willis likely has the most flight hours in this type of aircraft in the world and is the chief pilot of the BAA which is the biggest aerobatic academy in the world.

“Adrian made the invite and mentioned that he would fly me himself, but he never mentioned what we would be flying exactly.

“I was aware that we would be doing aerobatics, and I was expecting to fly in their usual Extra 200, which is a very good aerobatic plane, but certainly not the greatest.

“When I got to the Airfield and met Adrian, he showed me the plane we would be flying, which was the legendary 330 LX that Adrian described as the ‘Finest 2 seat Aerobatic Plane in the world’.

Chard & Ilminster News:

“I knew of this plane for some time as they fly it in the RedBull AirRace and some of my team RedBull friends in America fly them also, so when Adrian showed me the 330, I was absolutely buzzing.

“After having coffee and a briefing on what we were setting out to do on the day, I strapped the 330 up with my 5 GoPro cameras before getting suited up and on the plane.

“Adrian fired up the engine and soon after we were taking off. The speed and acceleration of the machine was incredible. It was like being sat in the Formula 1 car equivalent of the plane world!

“The Extra 330 LX is cleared to go up to positive and negative 10G, which is a huge amount.

“Adrian described that around 8G blood vessels in your eye will start to pop from the intense pressure.

“We ended up pulling over 7.5G and breaking my previous record of 6.5G in the L39 Albatros Fighter Jet in Miami.

“Once airborne, we then went on to do the aerobatics, beginning with a barrel roll, backflip, and more.

“Adrian very quickly also gave me full control of the plane and instructed me on how to do my own aerobatics also.

“He said this experience would also be my first aerobatic lesson.

“The plane was so responsive and agile. It truly is a magnificent machine.

"We then went on to perform many of the crazy aerobatics that Adrian would perform in his airshows and that athletes around the world would perform at airshows and competitions, including an engine stall and flat spin, to heading straight down at the ground while spinning, to flying completely inverted, and eventually pulling over 7.5G par my request to break my previous record.

“It was absolutely astonishing, but definitely slightly terrifying as you can see from my facial expression in the video I constructed.

“When we got back, we got some fantastic pictures and I got on the road back to Somerset where I would then spend the next 10 days preparing and editing my flight video, which just went out.

“When we started, I was a little terrified but quickly found that I was right back where I belonged, doing something I love.

“In a plane of that quality, what we did and the things I got to perform felt like a union between man and machine.

“The plane quickly becomes a part of you, and you become a part of it, it’s a beautiful thing to experience, and I feel it is a testament to aviation as a whole.

“Humans were never meant to fly. But through creativity, innovation, collaboration, and vision, we have earned our place in the sky. And a plane like that is a testament to what we can do.”