Become Tom Cruise in Nevada's 'Top Gun' Experience

Photo of Phoebe Lowndes
26 February 2020

Do you feel the need for speed? Las Vegas is a town of crazy experiences, but this one takes the gong for most extreme. Those of you hunting for the thrill of a lifetime, look no further.

Sky Combat Ace, located in the blistering Nevada desert just outside Las Vegas, offers a ‘Top Gun’ flying experience that will take speed freaks and flying enthusiasts to new levels of adrenaline.

The aviation experience turned this thrill-seeker upside down | © Culture Trip

Factor in some extreme aviation to your trip – and experience the rugged desert wilderness from a seriously exhilarating perspective.

The packages are fun and flexible, so if you’re not keen on aerial dogfighting, you don’t have to include it in your flight. Choose from a variety of ‘mission profiles’ designed to cater for all levels of daredevil (and budget); it’s easy to find a package to suit you. The ultimate mission though is the ‘Top Gun’ experience.

Not for the faint hearted, this experience is designed to send you full-throttle into their most thrilling aerobatic routine – with you at the helm the whole way. If heights leave you dizzy and the idea of controlling a small speeding aircraft as it barrels across the Nevada desert makes you feel queasy, this is probably not an experience for you.

It sounds crazy, but no previous flight training is necessary. You are given all the essential info on the ground before take-off, and your friendly (safety-conscious) instructor-pilot has a set of controls, too – it’s just like learning to drive! Sort of.

While the term ‘fighter jets’ is used loosely here, these stunt planes do an excellent job of simulating the Top Gun experience and it totally feels as though you’re flying the real thing.

Horizon-spinning tricks executed at 250mph (400kph) in the sky, combined with epic scenery, make this the ride of a lifetime. It certainly beats any roller coaster or thrill-inducing ride that Las Vegas has to offer.

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