News

Reaching for the sky

Cooroy-based builder John Jenkins (left) will take control of a MIG 29 fighter heading into the stratosphere at about twice the speed of sound.
Cooroy-based builder John Jenkins (left) will take control of a MIG 29 fighter heading into the stratosphere at about twice the speed of sound. SASA RADICAP

JOHN Jenkins may head Cooroy-based building company Ricon, that has Federal Government accreditation and employs up to 300 people on projects in remote desert locations, but right now he's more like an excited nine-year-old about to head off on his first school camp.

What's got him pumped is the gift he's bought himself for his 50th birthday on May 22.

An avid mountain climber who has tackled Kilimanjaro, his life-time ambition has been to reach the summit at Everest.

Age and failing knees may have put an end to that pursuit but the former British Special Forces soldier has found a real blast of a way to spend his birthday.

He flies to Moscow next week where he will receive training and a medical assessment at a Russian military air base, learn the rudiments of flying a MIG 29 fighter aircraft, be fitted with a pressure suit and then, with an air force pilot at the controls, fly 24kms straight up into the stratosphere.

At that height he will experience weightlessness, releasing a tennis ball that will hang suspended in the cabin before plummeting back to Earth at two and a half times the speed of sound.

At some point he will take control of the plane for six kilometres where he will pilot some basic manoeuvres.

Then, after a series of aerobatics above Moscow, the plane will fly at just 10m above ground breaking the sound barrier.

"I won't have the controls then," he laughed yesterday.

The pressure on his body when the MIG is at full throttle will be nine times his body weight.

Jenkins has been told if he starts to see in black and white he needs to signal the pilot to back off before he blacks out.

That's not something you'd want to do on a 50 minute journey costing $30,000.

The price of a ride into the heavens may seem steep but the MIG will burn five tonne of fuel and requires a staff of 120 to stay in the air.

Jenkins has paid a bit extra to have the entire ride captured from a series of angles both in and outside the cabin, a lifetime reminder of a 10-day break a world away from the pressures of a growing business.

Topics:  mt everest, russia


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Wild dogs savage children's pet lamb in backyard

Rihanna Sriwichai, 3, feeds Billy the lamb before he was mauled by dogs.

"Billy was tied up and had no way to get away"

Court-ordered parolees more likely to re-offend

Fence with barbed wire. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

New research shows certain parolees more likely to re-offend

Falls tickets go on sale

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

General sale starts at 9am

Latest deals and offers

Is this the moment Byron Bay mum hit slain Bali cop?

BYRON Bay woman Sara Connor has appeared to show herself hitting the Bali policeman with a walkie talkie during the re-enactment of the scene today.

Wild dogs savage children's pet lamb in backyard

Rihanna Sriwichai, 3, feeds Billy the lamb before he was mauled by dogs.

"Billy was tied up and had no way to get away"

Court-ordered parolees more likely to re-offend

Fence with barbed wire. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

New research shows certain parolees more likely to re-offend

Falls tickets go on sale

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

General sale starts at 9am

Star and News buried in Coorabell time capsule

Copies of the Northern Star and Byron Shire News were buried in Coorabell Primary's time capsule.

Coorabell primary celebrates 125th anniversary

OPINION: The price of good financial advice

Three per cent a year, or 2.2% after the adviser's fee, makes quite a difference. Over 20 years it means you would have 55% more than you would have otherwise.

Christoph looks at the difference it makes to have an adviser

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

Northern Rivers gender illusionist Maude Boate (Michael Gates) promoting the upcoming screenings of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Brunswick Picture House.

Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Falls tickets go on sale

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

General sale starts at 9am

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m