Friday, December 2

I flew Tom Cruise’s training plane, survived


SAN DIEGO – Let’s make one thing clear: I did not vomit.

That’s important to clarify when the faint of heart is thrust aboard the world’s most advanced aerobatic stunt plane, the Extra 330, one of the planes Tom Cruise used to train actors for the rigors of shooting jet action in “Top Gun: Maverick.”

As my pride flew out the cockpit, I never took my eyes off the two vomit bags near me, or stopped repeating my mantra: Don’t puke. Don’t puke. For God’s sake, don’t puke.

Confession: I can fly commercial like a pro, but avoid any roller coaster requiring a shoulder harness. Yet I volunteered, even semi-pleaded for this adventure, being offered in conjunction with Tuesday’s “Top Gun: Maverick” digital release.

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The phrase “once in a lifetime” opportunity was all the catnip this sucker needed. I brought my own denial to prevent freaking out weeks in advance.

It didn’t help my ever-looming dread to meet a guy who gleefully swiped through pictures of his recent stunt plane-vomit disaster. The spew was everywhere. The windows, seats, on his lovely, forgiving girlfriend of him. He warned me: Locate the vomit bags before takeoff and don’t drink tequila the night before. Donate.


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