Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mommalicious Takes to the Sky and Sets a Record!

Several weeks ago Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce Director Laura Hotvet, asked me if I would go up in a stunt plane with stunt pilot Michael Wiskus of Lucas Oil Air Shows.  Laura has known me for a couple of years and knew to ask me at a party when I had been drinking.  My love of red wine and committing to crazy acts of insanity seem to go hand in hand.

Michael Wiskus is the stunt pilot doing the air show during the upcoming Lake Minnetonka 4th of July festivities.  He has been flying for a couple of decades and has over 24,000 flying hours.  Winkus does full-time air shows March through November all over the country.

Keep in mind that I'm afraid of heights and I get motion sickness.  I don't go on roller coasters, I don't climb tall ladders, I'm the furthest thing from a thrill seeking daredevil as you can get.  I don't even like to drive up steep hills.  To say that going up in the air with a stunt pilot is outside the box for me, would be a huge understatement.

My producer Chris Vogt from the "Out and About" Community TV show I do for the Lake Minnetonka area, was also coming and going up in the stunt plane before me. Local photographer Susan Craig came along to document the craziness.  Susan is quite the thrill seeker.  The woman has jumped out of planes, gone deep sea fishing and more.  She should have been the one going up in the plane.  My sister Lana tagged along too.  She came mainly to see if I chickened out or threw up, true sisterly support.

Despite my fears and anxiety, my plan going into this was to remain calm, cool and collected and look cute while doing it.  What actually occurred couldn't have been further from what I had envisioned.  When you hit "play" make sure there aren't any kids around who can read lips.,

After we landed Wiskus told me that in all the years he has done this, he had never  heard such a long string of F bombs being dropped during a loop.  At least I set a record for something.  I was like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.  I stopped just short of puking up pea soup, or having my head spin around.  I had taken one dose of Dramamine, which is probably the only reason I didn't toss my cookies.  Winkus said  only about 1 in 20 people throw up.

Dont' get me wrong, there were parts of the flight that were amazingly beautiful.  Mostly the parts when we flew straight and parralel to the Earth, where I could take in the sights.  For a bit I thought "Well, this isn't too bad." Oh how wrong I was.

Lana, Stunt Pilot Michael Wiskus and me "before".
Photo by: Susan Craig Austin

If you look closely you can see me begging for rescue with my face against the glass.
Photo by: Susan Craig Austin
Straight on up.
Photo by Susan Craig Austin
At one point I was wondering why I couldn't hear Winkus over the headset. It wasn't till we landed and chatted that I realized I couldn't hear him because of my own screaming.  At one point I could hear "Relax, relax, I need you to relax."  After we landed he said I had grabbed the controls while we were in a loop.  What happened was I had slammed my thighs together with the control stick between them, and tensed up like a man about to get a Prostate exam.

In this video we go straight up a couple of times. At about the 45 second mark you can hear some kind of alarm going off, which didn't help to calm me down.

All in all, I'm thankful for the experience and I'm amazed that I followed through with it.  I'm in awe of the talents of Michael Wiskus and his team at West Metro Aviation and Lucas Oil Air Shows.  If you live in the Twin Cities area be sure to check out an event they are having on June 16th called "Fly In and Breakfast".  They will have airplane and helicopter rides, along with a pancake breakfast.  More details can be found at 

Don't miss the Lucas Oil Air Show at the Lake Minnetonka 4th of July celebration on of course, the 4th of July in Excelsior.  More details of what else to expect that day at "Lake Minnetonka 4th of July".

Now I'm off to Sunu Wellness Center for some much needed Chiropractic care.  With all my tensing up and screaming, I'm pretty sure I popped a rib out of place.

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Jean Robinson said...

You are something else girl! I salute you!!

Jeff Pearlman said...

Awesome! Looks like a wild ride!

Jeff Pearlman said...

Awesome! Looks like fun!