The Crazy Edge of Space Flight
One of the most remarkable adventures for today’s daredevils and adrenaline seekers is the so called Edge of Space flights in the Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet. Altitudes of up to 22km have been reached. Today Adventure tourists (including Americans!) can fly the backbone of the Russian Air Force for fun. Even though tensions between Russia and the West are rising over the conflict in the Ukraine, over Syria, new weapon systems and many other topics – this is one of the indicators that the Cold War was – after all – still much worse. Flights in current fighter jets would have been totally unthinkable in the Soviet Union.
What does Edge of Space mean?
Edge of Space flights is an artificial marketing creation from the company that organizes these flights, the Swiss company MiGFlug. The boarder to space is the so-called Kármán line at an altitude of 62 miles, or 100 kilometres respectively, according to the definition by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Anyone who has crossed this line can call himself “Astronaut”. The altitude reached by the MiG-29 during the Edge of Space flight is “only” 20-22km, far below that. But it is high enough that customers actually feel that they are in Space. They can see the curvature of the Earth, they see the atmosphere as a blue fog and the sky above is all black. It looks like the fascinating Earth photos taken from space. Simply breathtaking.
Another expression often used for these flights is “Stratosphere flights”. The Stratosphere is situated at 18km around the equator (and 8km at the poles) and 50km. At moderate latitudes one can say it starts about at the altitude reached by passenger planes.
How can the MiG-29 reach such altitudes?
No the avgeeks and fighter jet fans know that the service ceiling of the MiG-29 is actually clearly below that level. So how is it possible that the MiG-29 climbs to 22km? The answer is pretty simple – and rather crazy! The MiG-29 has a ballistic flight profile. Which means it climbs up like a rocket, at top speed near Mach 2. Once it is there the MiGFlug customer can enjoy that view for a while. On the way back down he’ll not only experience aerobatics ans G-Forces up to 9g(!!), he can also control the MiG-29 fighter jet during part of the flight.
Read more about the Edge of Space flights here: http://www.migflug.com/en/jet-fighter-flights/flying-with-a-jet/mig-29-edge-of-space.html