Erick Juan Moralez
Businessman and Golfer
It was the best experience of my life. Having the privilege to ride in one of the most powerful aircrafts in the world with the most qualified pilots. It was a dream come true.
I received a phone call from a good friend who runs the media for the AF Thunderbirds letting me know that if they were to come to PR, he would submit my name for me to fly with them. A couple of weeks later, I received the call; “Fill out the forms I just sent you, you’re going up!’’ It was a pretty exciting moment but at the same time scary.
At times I would think of backing out and not doing it, wondering what G-force would feel like and questioning if my body could handle it. Having never experienced something like this before, these concerns stayed in my mind.
So I called my friend and told him my thoughts. I did not know if I was going to
do it. He told me, “Erick, this is the experience of a lifetime, this is something money can’t buy. You can have all the money in the world, and you cannot pay for something like this because it has no monetary value.
You have to be picked.”
Two days before the flight, I had the chance to have dinner with the pilots, and
I explained my worries. They insisted that I should do it, this was an incredible experience, and I was lucky to be able to do it. They told me that all they wanted was for me to enjoy it and not make me feel bad up there, that they didn’t want their jet full of vomit (ha).
So the day came. I got there 3 hours early for training.
Flight Surgeon – He explains to me what G-force is (Which I had Googled if I could die from before I walked in. Haha). He taught me a breathing technique so that my blood would stay in my head and I wouldn’t pass out. He went through all the possible things I could feel and how to deal with them.
Equipment – The second stage was the equipment. There, they set up my uniform, helmet, oxygen mask, G-suit and badges. They explained what everything is for and how to use it.
Emergency – This was the NO fun part. It was basically a 10-minute skydiving course. They outlined the entire process on what to do if there was an emergency. If we had to be ejected from the plane, I learned how to handle the parachute and the process after. This was the part when you think about just staying dressed and not getting on the plane.
Pilot – The last stage of training was talking to the pilot. He went through the entire trip. He explained all the movements and the amount of G-force that we would face in each one of them.
From there on, we were ready to go. We headed to the control center where I got to meet the entire crew. Everyone was so nice and pumped for me. We walked to the jet, jumped in, and they went through the checking process three times. Two guys from the crew checked that everything was in place and then the pilot checked again before jumping in.
We were set to go, and they fired up the engines. This is when the hearts and adrenaline started to pump. There was no way back. The flight was 1hr 15min long. We did all kinds of crazy flips, turns, speeds. It was truly the best feeling and experience of my life. It was very hard to explain what I felt. I even got to fly it myself for a minute. Something special that happened that the pilot told me never happens was that I got to join the back on our way back to SJ. It was majestic to see the other jets flying so close to me. It was a great show.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. I was definitely very lucky to be able to do this. My friend Troy Hanson who made this happen, thank you so much. The crew from the AF Thunderbirds who I now consider my friends, thank you for an unforgettable experience. I will cherish this for the rest of my life.
People ask me if I would do it again? DEFINITELY!!!