Best Ride for Thrill Seekers - 2008
Fighter Combat International
Before Tom Cruise became a maniacally mindless automaton of L. Ron Hubbard, the Risky Business star was kind of the shiznit. Whether he was working a pool table in The Color of Money, zooming around a racetrack during Days of Thunder, or shooting through the skies for Top Gun, everyone dreamed of being a blockbuster badass like Cruise. In fact, we're betting many of the folks who sign-up for the thrills and chills of Fighter Combat International are wanna-be Mavericks. (Hell, FCI's Web site even declares, "Be a Top Gun"). Potential pilots can head to Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport and sign up for various packages (lasting anywhere from half a day to five days). There, they are clad in flight suits, briefed on tactics, and flown into the wild blue yonder by veteran sky jockeys.
Inside two-seat Extra 300L high-performance aerobatic planes, they wage an aerial battle against combat professionals with simulated weapons. (You even get to buzz the tower at the end, just like Maverick). For more peacenik types, FCI offers aerobatics programs in which you can experience loopty-loops, inverted flying, spins, and other stomach-wrenching maneuvers. You'll need a Hollywood-size budget to live your dreams, as these thrill rides aren't for the thrifty, with combat packages running from $729 to a whopping $3,669, with the amount of dogfights and flight time varying ($469 to $1,574 for the aerobatic program). We're sure Tommy Boy would approve.