Click herefor locations nationwide
You and your co-pilot will be sent on a combat mission for a day in the sky above Chicago as you dodge enemy fire and hunt down your opponent!
- Don a flight suit and take to the sky in an Italian built Marchetti fighter plane
- Instructors have flown more than 48,000 participants
- You fly 90% of the time
- Experience the thrill of being a Fighter Pilot for a Day!
Off we go into the wild blue yonder! Your mission: work with your instructor to outsmart, outmaneuver, and outgun your opponents in heart-pumping, "G-pulling" dogfights. You will be manning the controls of a real, fully aerobatic, high performance aircraft.
After attending a full briefing covering formation flight, gun sight tracking, and aerial combat maneuvers, you will don your flight suit and board the Marchetti SF260, a current production Italian built fighter aircraft.
Once airborne, your instructor pilot will hand the controls over to you as you engage your enemy in actual combat!
Imagine yourself scanning the skies in a real military aircraft in search of an enemy airplane. You spot the bogey at 3 o'clock, break turn hard and the fight's on. Up, down, and around. Pulling G's, making quick decisions until you out maneuver your opponent, put the gun-sight's pipper on them, squeeze the trigger. The enemy erupts in smoke and you roll up and away, victorious!
Basic Air Combat option:
Following your flight briefing, take to the skies and prepare to engage in an air combat experience you'll never forget.
Shortly after take-off you'll take the controls and warmup by practicing formation flight, combat maneuvers like high and low yo-yo's and familiarize yourself with the gun sight.
Now it's time for combat! You'll engage your "enemy" for 6 aerial dogfights as you put your skills to the test and try to get as many "kills" as possible. You'll spend half of the dogfights hunting your adversary attempting to get a clear shot and kill, while the other half will be spent eluding enemy fire. May the best pilot win!
Fighter Pilot Lead In option: If you really want to test your skills as a fighter pilot and see if you have what it takes, this is the experience for you!
With the Fighter Pilot Lead In option, your first flight will be a practice session, focusing on maneuvers like formation flight, high & low yo-yo's, lead and lag pursuits, displacement rolls, and vertical & oblique turns.
This initial warm-up flight will help you adjust to the G-forces, and give you a chance to hone your skills before it's time to engage in air combat.
During your second flight, it's time to engage the enemy and put your dog fighting skills to the test! You'll use the maneuvers you've learned in a variety of tactical air combat situations, and will engage in 10 dogfights. This is the ultimate civilian air combat experience!
All experiences include a Hi-Def video on an SD Card from 3 in-cockpit cameras to keep the memory alive for years to come.
- No experience necessary
- Participants should be at least 14 years old, must weigh no more than 250 pounds, and be no taller than 6'7"
- Includes a Hi-Def video on an SD Card from 3 in-cockpit cameras to keep the memory alive for years to come
- Please see the FAQ section for additional information
Basic Air Combat option: 2.5-3 hours with 1 hour of flight time. Fighter Pilot Lead In option: Approximately 5-6 hours with two flights, each lasting approximately 60 minutes.
1 participant and instructor per plane. Then 1 plane vs.1 plane in the dog fights.
The customers and their guests may sit in on the briefing and the de-briefing. Guests may also watch their loved ones take-off and land. The actual maneuvers take place about 25 miles from the airport and at an altitude that spectators on the ground could never see.
This experience is weather dependent. Always contact the experience provider with any questions regarding weather conditions. In the event that the flight is cancelled due to weather, you will reschedule directly with the experience provider.
What to Wear:
Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes, sneakers are recommended. A flight suit is provided.
For this experience, it is recommended to request bookings at least 30 days in advance.
Prior to scheduling/booking a date for this experience, Cloud 9 Living's standard return and exchange policy shall apply. Once you have scheduled a date and received a booking confirmation no refunds will be given. However, cancellations made at least 30 days prior to the experience will incur a cancellation fee equal up to 20% of the experience price, with the remaining balance to be applied to another future booking of a Cloud 9 Living experience of the participant's choice. Failure to appear on your booked date or to cancel and reschedule at least 30 days prior to your booked date will result in the loss of the value of your experience.
Do I need any flying experience?
Absolutely not! Most of our customers do not have a pilot's license, and many have never even flown in a single-engine aircraft.
Can I do this? Will I have fun?
Absolutely! Second only to safety is our pledge for you to have FUN! FUN! FUN! It is a flying experience you will talk about and remember forever. Everyone can do it. During your flying adventure, you will be continuously coached by your instructor pilot to ensure a successful mission and you will walk away with a unique sense of achievement that will be difficult to top.
How safe is it?
The aircraft used in this experience are maintained in strict accordance with Federal Air Regulations and our instructors, both military and civilian, have enviable credentials. Most are former military pilots from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps., several are graduates of Red Flag and the Navy Fighter Weapons School. The military rules of engagement establish safe minimum altitudes and distances between the aircraft throughout the maneuvers. Our provider's proven training techniques will put you at ease at the controls and give you the confidence to execute even the most complex air combat maneuvers for an amazing flying adventure.
Will I suffer motion sickness while engaging in air combat?
Based on our experience, less than 10% of customers suffer from motion sickness. We attribute this low rate to the fact that you are in control of the aircraft. You are far less likely to become ill while in control than as a passenger. Secondly, you will be taught to focus on your opponent at all times; not the horizon. This will not only ensure you get the kill, it will provide a more stable reference point. Nonetheless, this is your experience. Should at any time during the flight you begin to feel uncomfortable, simply lighten up on the controls and tell your instructor. He will do what he can to make your flying adventure more enjoyable.
What is the itinerary?
Expect to be there 2.5-3 hours for the Basic Air Combat option, and 5-6 hours for the Fighter Pilot Lead In option. Upon arrival you will suit up in a flight suit and attend the ground school portion of our program. You will learn safety procedures, tactics and maneuvers, rules of engagement and the physiological effects of G-forces. Then you'll grab a parachute and helmet, head out to the aircraft, and climb into the cockpit alongside your instructor pilot for the actual air combat mission. Your entire experience is recorded on a complimentary SD card that will play on any computer or TV with the appropriate card reader.
Are spectators allowed?
The customers and their guests may sit in on the briefing and the de-briefing. Guests may also watch their loved ones take-off and land. The actual maneuvers take place about 25 miles from the airport and at an altitude that spectators on the ground cannot see.
At what altitudes will we be flying?
At the very minimum (hard deck) you'll be flying at 2,500 feet (this varies by location). However, for each engagement you'll work within a 2,000-3,000 feet flying range that typically starts around 4,000 feet.
I wear glasses. Is this still safe?
Absolutely! In fact, we have worked to tailor this experience to visually challenged people in the past including blind participants.
Can I control the plane during take-off and landing?
Due to insurance regulations, the instructor pilot must handle the controls during take off and landing, even if you are a certified pilot.
Can I participate if I am colorblind?
Yes! Color blindness will not affect the experience.
Other Chicago Gift Ideas:(View all 69 Chicago experiences)
- Gift CertificatesFrom: $50.00
- Fly a CessnaAvg Rating of: 5(25)From: $219
- Learn to Fly a HelicopterAvg Rating of: 5(7)From: $375
- NASCAR Stock Car Ride AlongAvg Rating of: 4-half(28)From: $109
- Drive a NASCAR Stock CarAvg Rating of: 4-half(14)From: $488
- Walking Food Tour of ChicagoAvg Rating of: 4-half(62)From: $50
- Architectural Kayak TourAvg Rating of: 4-half(10)From: $76
- Sunset PaddleAvg Rating of: 5(4)From: $65
- Golf Lesson with a PGA ProFrom: $129
- Chicago Dinner CruiseAvg Rating of: 4(12)From: $136
- All Chicago Experiences
"The best, most fun day ever. Both Steve and JR shattered my perception that fighter pilots were aloof and arrogant. The guys were friendly, knowledgeable, and very much about ensuring both guest pilots had fun and enjoyed every aspect of the the flight. I came away with a new respect for our Military aviators and a real understanding what close, in-air combat is all about. Most of all, I had a great time every minute. An experience I will never forget. Best of all was that this experience was made possible by my three children who gracious pooled their money to give me a retirement gift that was amazing. Thanks to Cloud 9 Living, Air Combat USA, and the instructor pilots for making the entire process easy and worry-free."
""Smudge" told me everything to expect in the pre-flight briefing. He warned me about all of the feelings and tendencies that I would have. He was spot on about everything!!! Made me more confident and more aggressive that way!! The thing he didn't tell me was that I would have a permanent smile throughout the flight and the days to come!! Thanks to everyone for making me feel special and one of a kind!!"
"Not only was it a once in a lifetime experience but the instructors were friendly, informative and enthusiastic which really added to my comfort and my enjoyment. I wouldn't recommend changing anything. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. "