BEST NOT-SO-CHEAP THRILL (2005)
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
www.nogravity.com If $3750 seems like a lot of money to spend on roughly one minute of weightlessness, well, that's why this gets the Not-So-Cheap award. Based at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Zero Gravity's modified Boeing 727-200 (the only such commercial aircraft certified by the FAA) takes "teams" of 27 customers on a two-hour flight that includes a couple of parabolic maneuvers that allow wannabe astronauts to experience added G-forces (ascent), mild weightlessness (crest), and complete weightlessness (descent). It's nearly a full-day affair, beginning with training, lunch (please stay down...), flight, and informal celebration once back on terra firma. The company, founded by former NASA executive Pete Diamandis, launched its maiden voyage this past September. Apparently lots of people have strong stomachs to match their disposable incomes. Three flights out of Fort Lauderdale are (tentatively) scheduled between now and the end of the year, in July, September, and November.
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BEST DIRECTORMichael Hall