Only a lucky few civilians can boast, “I flew in an F-16,” and Hollywood action hero Gerard Butler is now one of them. Movie actor receives flight surgeon briefing, pilot briefing, and safety training prior to climbing into the back seat of an F-16 Fighting Falcon to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team.
Sitting in the backseat of an F-16 Fighting Falcon the action hero was taken through the acrobatics used in the team's demonstrations. Afterwards he describes his experience. “Oh my god, that’s the best thing I ever did in my life,” Butler says as the pilot pulls him out of an aerial roll. Even for a superstar like Butler the experience is incredible; he even pulled out his iPhone to capture the moment. When asked if he’d had enough for the day he says, “No, I wouldn’t mind pulling more Gs.”
After the incredible flight on March 5 the movie star added: "We did a maximum climb on take-off, I experienced 9.4Gs, and we did all the maneuverers which they do at their demonstrations. It was intense, amazing and bordering on spiritual". The actor had been taken through the entire display sequence beforehand and warned of all the risks. Gerard Butler even found the time to take a few selfies while he enjoyed the unforgettable experience. "It's really just like holding on it gets super intense. And at the same time I wanted to try and film some of it, so I was trying to do the stomach clenches, holding on and film and try and get the other pilot in and his plane. But I was also trying to enjoy the moment. There was a couple of time I put the phone down and just said I have got to just experience this', said Gerard Butler.
The Thunderbirds were created in 1953 as the U.S. Air Force's official demonstration team. The Thunderbirds have the privilege and responsibility to perform for people all around the world, displaying the pride, precision and professionalism of American Airmen. In every hour-long demonstration, the team combines years of training and experience with an attitude of excellence to showcase what the Air Force is all about.
A video uploaded to the Thunderbird's YouTube channel shows the Scottish actor looking around in amazement as he is swept around above the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.