Thrill Ride Maniacs Reality Show Pilot
A Success Thanks to Mike Mancuso and the Raiders Demonstration Team
This past year has been a very exciting one for me. Not only was I able to write and promote a successful thrill ride book this year but did over 170 TV and radio shows around the country. I have been also most fortunate to be in the company of the best aviators around while filming a reality show pilot. While filming “Thrill Ride Maniacs” my producer wanted to add a section (and rightly so) on thrill’s that were a little different and a bit out of the ordinary. Well, as a pilot myself, it was obvious to me that if you want to go extreme, than there is only place you need to go! After all, where else can you experience long term negative as well as positive (and zero) G’ effects and truly feel what an ultimate rush truly feels like. Sure you can experience this riding the world’s best roller coasters, riding the fastest go karts on the planet as well as other thrill rides but I am sure most of you would agree that there is nothing that increases your pucker factor like experiencing aerobatic (air show) flight first hand strapped into an incredible flying machine. My producer thought the same as I did so off we went...
I am a pilot and have done some training in aerobatic maneuvers but for this projected needed the best in the business here so I asked my friends in this incredible business to help me out and I am happy to say they did and the end result was fantastic! Flying with these amazing pilots and catching it all on film was indeed a good way to show the general public what it’s really like to not just watch the show, but to actually be a part of it... A way to see how these individuals are able to consistently amaze and entertain wide eyed fans and audiences everyday! There is nothing like a fully aerobatic aircraft that will make you experience life “on the very edge!”
For this Thrill Ride Maniacs shoot about a half dozen thrill ride enthusiasts (including myself) got to experience the ultimate ride not once but twice and it really made our day!
For those of you who haven’t flown with the best of the best out there, let me tell you, one of those intrepid individuals is my friend and world renowned aviator Michael Mancuso. Mike might have recently retired after dozens of successful years on the circuit but you would be hard pressed to know that after flying with him. Mike has been known for his unusual attitude aerobatic flying skills and he didn’t disappoint us in the least on this day. Flying in his incredible set of Extra 300 aircraft, our thrill ride guests were in for the time of their lives. They were in fact about to reach both their emotional as well as their physical limits in these machines. Along with his counterpart another experienced flyer Mike Bellenir, they took these Extra’s through their paces and the footage we shot was absolutely amazing. We really felt we were performing in an air show and I must admit many of our team members felt a little sick after their flights... In this aircraft we were truly part of the action and not just experiencing all this from the ground looking up. The Extra (in this case the 300) is like no other aircraft out there and I can definitely understand why it is the best non experimental aircraft in the industry. When it comes to performing barrel roles, immelman turns, loops hammerhead stalls and other top maneuvers, this aircraft has no rival. It can turn even the strongest person into quivering jelly!!! Mike is also an amazing pilot and thanks to our show, we are confident that when you see this footage you will be amazed like we were in what this airplane can really do.
Today Mike is a successful businessman and owns and operates an amazing flying school in long Island where you can learn to also fly these incredible machines to their limits. Mancuso also has done aerobatics for many feature films and continues to bring his personal touch to the screen when asked to do so. He also has aircraft at his Long Island school that we can all fly as well. It’s Mike’s way of giving back to an industry that has been so good to him and he tells me he is simply passing on his skills to new generation of aviation enthusiasts. A word to the wise though. If you fly with Mike, prepare for the ride of your life and do not eat a full meal before doing so!!! For more info on Mike go to... www.mmairshows.com/
Now you would think that flying with Mike Mancuso alone would be enough to have the basis of an amazing show and you would be right. But at Thrill Ride Maniacs, we had the opportunity to also fly with a set of hot shot formation pilots that taught us all a thing or two about precision aerobatic formation flying. They call themselves the Raiders Flight Demonstration team based out of the Flying W airport in South Jersey and if you ever wanted to see what it feels like to be in a tight formation (with smoke on) in the middle of a half dozen aircraft just feet apart, flying inverted than this is the place to be. The Raiders fly the classic Russian Built Yak 52 and its sister aircraft The Nanchang CJ6. Both are 2 seat tandem military training aircraft and can give the pilot up to 7 positive G’s and -3 on the negative scale which can just about turn anyone's stomach. They may not be as fast or as maneuverable as the EXTRA 300 but let me tell you, when it comes to formation flying they fit the bill perfectly. Lead by Raider Commander Martin Sheehan, the team is absolutely amazing. Martin was a Navy pilot and he runs this operation as he did when he was in the Military. Along with other accomplished pilots Tom Reynolds, Morton Stoverud, Tim Stevens, Carey O’Donnell, Bob Mortara, Randy Devere. Jeff Daniel. Keith McKinley and Steve Dalton, their feats will defiantly astound you as they did us. These guys put us through one incredible maneuver after another and we were literally wingtip to wingtip during most of these crazy elements. Their Starburst element looked pretty incredible from the ground but if you are lucky enough to be in the middle of the action, it literally will take your breath away. Again our Thrill Ride Maniacs had about as much as they could handle and we have some pretty good after affects of what these flights can actually do to people. For more information on this incredible team as well as their air show calendar of events for 2012, go to www.raidersairshow.com You will truly be in for a show!
For my upcoming reality show Thrill Ride Maniacs, flying with the best aviators around was for me and my buddies a fantastic experience and a thrill of a lifetime. We were able to interview all these pilots, do stunts that very few ever get to experience and were able to do all this in tight formations under extreme air show conditions. Now you can’t beat that! I want to personally Thank Mike Mancuso and the Raider Air Demonstration team for giving us this wonderful opportunity... Looking forward to showing all of you the video footage we took when Thrill Ride Maniacs hits the small screen later this year. Hope you will be able to watch the show…
Author/America's Top Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks and Host of Thrill Ride Maniacs
Thrill Ride Maniacs Promo!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3-4jnOSeDw&feature=share