Thirty-six years later, hot shot fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is back on the big screen in a “Top Gun” sequel, training the next generation of elite pilots.
When the original debuted in 1986, fans were instantly drawn to Maverick’s dangerous yet exceptional pilotry, arrogant demeanor with a touch of heroism and bravery, risky decision-making and disobedience, and of course, his need for speed.
But that sort of adrenaline rush isn’t limited to the characters of “Top Gun: Maverick.”
From simulated flights above the Strip to professional aviation training over the Grand Canyon, you and your “wingmen” can embrace the “Top Gun” experience by engaging in a variety of thrilling activities throughout Southern Nevada as the new movie hits theaters this week.
THE ‘TOP GUN’ EXPERIENCE
Sky Combat Ace
What: Founded by U.S. Air Force veteran Richard “Tex” Coe, Sky Combat Ace offers several unique aviation experiences in which participants can choose to ride along or get behind the controls of a jet plane under the supervision of highly trained SCA fighter pilots. Prices range from $499 to $999 depending on which three-hour experience you choose, including an introductory aerobatic flight ride-along and a stunt plane that you take for a spin.
The rush: The SCA offerings don’t lack in adrenaline as each experience gets more and more exhilarating. “The Afterburner” offers participants the chance to fly maneuvers, creating an airshow routine similar to a flying roller coaster, while “Sky Combat” involves a thrilling air-to-air combat experience of laser tag in the sky.
Contact: 2705 Airport Drive; skycombatace.com
FlyOver Las Vegas
What: This new Vegas attraction, next to the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip, offers a fully immersive experience in which guests can soar through the skies of beautiful destinations. Prices range from $26 to $65.
The rush: Using special effects like mist, wind, scents and motion, the ride allows guests to experience the magical feeling of dipping and diving over awe-inspiring landmarks of their choice. From the valleys and prairies of the Wild West to the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland, there’s no limit to where FlyOver can take you.
Contact: 3771 Las Vegas Blvd. South; flyoverlasvegas.com
‘I’LL FLY WITH YOU’
West Air Flight Training
What: Less interested in stunts, but still itching to fly a plane? West Air Flight Training provides flight training for all experience levels. As the oldest flight school at North Las Vegas Airport, West Air offers a convenient and affordable option for those looking for an aviation career or for travel options with prices starting at $49 for an introductory flight.
The rush: West Air offers the opportunity to learn how to fly over and navigate the Grand Canyon or the Strip, taking participants over famous landmarks such as Nellis Air Force Base, Lake Mead, the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Jean and Red Rock National Conservation Area.
Contact: 2726 Perimeter Road; westairflighttraining.com
Airwork Las Vegas
What: From Private Pilot Certification to Airline Transport Pilot, Airwork offers several flight training options for anyone interested in aviation. Airwork offers training for flying an airplane and a helicopter with the guidance of professional flight instructors. A one-hour airplane introductory flight costs $200, and a 40-minute helicopter introductory flight runs $206.50.
The rush: Aside from training, Airwork offers a helicopter tour of the Strip providing a bird’s-eye view of The Strat tower, Encore and Wynn Las Vegas, the Palms, Bellagio, New York-New York and Luxor. Other options include a daytime Red Rock Canyon helicopter tour and a daytime Red Rock Canyon and Strip helicopter tour.
Contact: 2722 Perimeter Road; airworkslv.com
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
What: Operating since 1965, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters is the largest and most experienced Grand Canyon helicopter tours company with three exclusive landing sites on the floor of the canyon. Tours from Las Vegas take guests to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and the Strip with prices ranging from $94 to $739 depending on the tour chosen.
The rush: Each destination offers unique activities to add to the excitement, including VIP access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk bridge as a part of the Grand Canyon West Rim helicopter tour or a chance to zip line on the Fly Linq if riding over the Strip.
Contact: 5060 Koval Lane; papillon.com
‘NEED FOR SPEED’
Pole Position Raceway
What: From casual driving to professional racing, Pole Position Raceway offers an electric indoor go-kart experience for customers of all levels to walk in and enjoy or for private groups both small and large. Across the street from the Palms, Pole Position provides several racing options, with its most popular format being the “Arrive and Drive” 10-minute standard race. Prices range from $50 to $80.
The rush: Pole Position’s high-performance European indoor go-karts are capable of speeds approaching 45 mph, allowing for adrenaline-pumping, side-by-side competition for those longing to satisfy their “need for speed.”
Contact: 4175 S. Arville St.; vegas.polepositionraceway.com
Gene Woods Racing Experience
What: The Gene Woods Racing Experience offers racing action in fast high-performance karts at two locations. The Las Vegas Sports Center provides outdoor gas karts, and the Fremont Experience offers indoor electric kart racing. Prices range from $25 to $29.95.
The rush: The Gene Woods Racing Experience at Fremont Street is designed with the world’s only purpose-built drift track to test the skills of every driver with electronic check-in and timing to provide instant feedback and scoring for all racers. Starting from the green flag, drivers can drift the corners and race 15 exhilarating laps until they reach the checkered flag.
Contact: 121 E. Sunset Road or 450 Fremont St.; gokartslasvegas.com
Vegas Indoor Skydiving
What: Right around the corner from the Strip, Vegas Indoor Skydiving acts as both a tourist attraction and a training facility for those interested in the sport of indoor skydiving. The Learn to Fly package offers an hourlong experience including a training class, equipment rental and two flights for one person for $85, and the Indoor Skydiving Experience totals up to $149, allowing participants to fly for two hours with included videos, photos and souvenirs.
The rush: Vegas Indoor Skydiving is the attraction to visit for those seeking the exhilaration of skydiving, without a parachute or airplane, powered by a 1,000-horsepower motor. Participants can float, fly and free fall with wind speeds up to 120 mph.
Contact: 200 Convention Center Drive; vegasindoorskydiving.com
What: SkyJump atop The Strat combines bungee-jumping and skydiving for a heart-pounding experience. Prices range from $99.99 to $164.99.
The rush: Holding a Guinness World Record as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility, SkyJump is a must-see for thrill-seekers. The attraction offers an open-air leap from 829 feet above the Strip, launching participants toward the landing pad at speeds surpassing 40 mph.
Contact: 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South; thestrat.com/attractions/skyjump
Defy Las Vegas
What: From battle beans to ninja courses to extreme dodgeball, Defy trampoline park (previously known as Gravady) offers activities for all ages in a massive indoor playground with 25,000 square feet of trampolines. Prices range from $18.99 to $34.99.
The rush: Defy provides a fun outing for friends and family alike. Whether guests are jumping, spinning, flipping or playing on the trampolines, there’s no shortage of ways to keep active and test your limits.
Contact: 7350 Prairie Falcon Road; defy.com/defy-las-vegas/
Contact Maria Staubs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MariaStaubs on Twitter.