THE sky is below you, the lake is above you, just for a fraction of a second, then they are back in their rightful places, just for another fraction of a second, then they swap places again — that’s aerobatics.
Click play to jump inside the plane (iPhone app users can tap the 'Videos' tab).
Lars Larson has slipped his Extra 300 into two quick aileron rolls, 4000 feet above Lake Hume and, just as suddenly, we are spinning the other way.
And when the scenery stops whirling, all I can think of is “Wow!”
Not a very imaginative response but identical to all the other “wows” my brain was producing as Lars threw this whippet around the sky, right from the start of our 20-minute flight yesterday to give me a taste of what he is offering in his two visits to Albury this weekend and next under his Speedhawk banner.
Lars shows you how to squeeze your body to counteract the G-force which reaches about 3.5Gs — so your body feels 3½ times heavier — but the plane is capable of 8Gs.
And if all gets too much, Lars will back off — he can make it as gentle or as hard as you like — but don’t be too hasty to surrender because this is quite an experience.
The passenger sits in the front under the bubble canopy, held snug by a full harness – you don’t climb into the plane as much as strap it on.
And the only time spent on an even keel is taxi-ing to and from the runway.
The Extra doesn’t just take-off, it launches.
Held in level flight as soon as it leaves the earth, we whistle to the end of the bitumen and pull into an almost vertical climb like the proverbial homesick angel, in seconds, the runway is 2000 feet below.
With Lars’ voice in the headphones talking me through every manoeuvre, we then loop, barrel roll, twist and turn over the lake — a climb, stall turn, let gravity take over and the plane heads back to earth.
Forget about the view, the sky and the green grass are in constant interchange — and you are upside down most of the time, at the top of the loop, in a barrel roll and those snappy aileron rolls that test your neck muscles.
And then the highlight, for me anyway, the high speed, into a vertical climb, wing over and vertical dive – when there is nothing between you and the water rushing at you.