Your Sunday adrenaline fix

Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger

Since it has been somewhat tense around here, I thought a bit of adrenaline might relieve some stress. There is a curious thing about aviators. We hate high places. If you can get a typical pilot on a roller coaster or Ferris wheel, you have accomplished something. Oh sure, there is the occasional outlier who doesn’t mind, but few pilots I know are willing to get out on high places. I once knew a Marine Harrier fighter pilot who went over to a friend’s apartment for a cookout. The friend lived on about the 14th floor. The grill was out on the cantilevered balcony. This tough Marine fighter pilot would not go out there, even when bribed with beer.

I have some theories why this is so, but that involves rather dense aviation psychology research discussion that might give some of our readers a math headache, and is beyond the scope of the #1 Legal News & Analysis Blog on the intertoobz. At any rate, some of us would like to be able to ride a real roller coaster without getting any higher off the ground than we are willing to fall. Quite a feat for a designer to build a fast roller coaster that does not go any higher than the average pilot is willing to fall without a parachute. The Austrians and Swiss have accomplished just that.

This is the outstanding alpine coaster in Mieders, Austria called the Sommerrodelbahn. The drop is about two thousand feet down an alpine mountainside. This is a single rail coaster, and this experienced rider does it with no brakes. The seat is tiny, and there is a single seat belt. This photo is of the guy who made the video below.

I want one!

25 thoughts on “Your Sunday adrenaline fix”

  1. OS, watched all three. Heart’s beating very fast. I think I need a three-day nap. (Isn’t there some way you guys can eliminate all that real extreme tippy-wing thing? I mean WITHOUT randyjet’s glide into the base of the mountain)

    pete – the bear visual…..very nice.

  2. Randy,
    One of the things I always wanted to do but never got to was fly into the Hidden Splendor, Utah airstrip. Not for the faint of heart or anyone with a loose sphincter. I don’t think I would try it with a C172, but might with a Super Cub. The plane in this video is a Stinson 108-2, and the camera is out on the left wing so there wouldn’t be any prop flicker. That is why it looks as if he is touching down off center when landing. Airstrip description is,

    This is hard packed old rugged mining airstrip on the muddy river with access to great hiking. No facilities. Hazards include narrow canyon approach, box canyon, soft sand on edges of runway 16/34, drop off on edges and north and south end of runway, narrow runway, up to 1ft shrubs on edges of runway, density altitude, and canyon / mountain weather, windshear.

    1. It doesn’t look too bad even for a C-172 as long as it is not too hot, but a C-182 would be better and a tail dragger even better. There was one place I flew into that was a true one way strip, Dunsmuir-Mott 106. I had to do that one a lot in winter on the side of Mt Shasta. You had to descend into the I-5 gorge as you were turning base and just drag it in. The fun part was that the width of the strip got narrower as the winter wore on as the snow piled up on the sides and you had to watch your wingtips so as not to catch them. This was tough in a Chieftain. Then there was Wonder Valley, Sanger CA which was near Fresno. We had to use that one in winter because of the Tule fog which would close Fresno for days. That one was bad because it was so short, and all the aircraft that were diverted from Fresno landed there. Since I was flying a Lance and slower than the rest of the pack, I was the last one in. As each plane landed, they took up increasing space on the runway since there was no place to turn off it. So I had to come in just over the fence, literally and dodge a tree on the right hand side and hit in the first few feet and stand on the brakes before I hit the other planes. I guess that I got rather used to such strips in my CA flying days. I loved the challenge of it.

  3. When I lived in Yreka, I flew over Mt Shasta, and I was thinking about landing the C-172 on the top, but it took too much room. Now with that Super Cub, I would definitely try it. It would sure beat having to hike all the way up. I still could not get down to the Ameriflight monument since the slope was too steep and would have to rappel down to it.

  4. Nice thing about the takeoff is that one does not have to worry about losing the engine. One could simply glide to the base of the mountain.

  5. Darren,
    Speed isn’t everything. One can also get a thrill out of going slow. Screaming speed isn’t always needed for a real thrill.

  6. I too was a pilot and have always been deathly afraid of heights; interesting phenomena if what you say holds across the field.

    As for the ride, that looks like a blast!

  7. Ejected/escaped ex-nursing home residents have a similar FOE BEE YAH, our fear is if the height is not enuff(it’s back to the nursing home ‘eh!!!) – we are afraid to be at less than 1,000 feet which assures, if we fall, we will be instantly killed…. 😉

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