I didn’t exactly believe them when the Flying Kiwi told me I would be piloting my own stunt plane in Abel Tasman, New Zealand. “You mean I am going to be a passenger and the pilot is going to fly right?”  “No, you are actually going to pilot your own plane turning yourself upside down and all around doing aerial acrobats 4000 feet above the ground.”

Holy $*%#

flight in New Zealand, Pilot a Stunt Plane

Okay, if you say so.  Dave took off to jump out of a plane while I climbed into my flight suit to fly with U-Fly Extreme.

I won’t tell a lie, my nerves were running high as the pilot Vincent gave me my instructions on how to fly this classic Pitts Special aircraft. This was not only my first flying lesson; it was my first aerial acrobat-flying lesson. We always say “If you are going to try something, don’t try it half assed, go for it 100%.

U fly extreme in Abel Tasman New Zealand

Run by Vincent and Allison, Pilot A Stunt Plane with U-Fly Extreme is a one of a kind operation for a once in a lifetime opportunity.  They are a married couple that have years of experience of flight instruction and aerial acrobats and have yet to find anywhere offering the same service.  As you can imagine, it is quite difficult to franchise out a company that takes amateurs into the air to twirl around in the sky.

Vincent says it is the simplest thing for him to teach people how to fly and flip through the air, but it is a very unique niche that is difficult to duplicate.

extreme adventures in new zealand

As soon as the engine starts and we taxi down the runway, I begin to relax. I feel confident in Vincent’s capable hands and once we jut into the sky, he instantly puts me on the controls.

We are climbing straight up into the air and he tells me to gently push the throttle left and right to get a feel of being in control of the plane.

The power feels incredible.

I know that he is there to take over if things go wrong, but he is confident enough to give me as much control as he can throughout the flight. During the video you can regularly see him lifting both hands in the air to prove that it is indeed me rolling the plane.  He gives me instructions to keep on pulling right or up to keep the roll or spin going.

It is impossible to explain the feeling, but this video provided and edited by You Fly gives you a great idea of what you can expect.

It is the coolest thing on earth and I am amazed that I don’t feel nauseous. I feel quite comfortable actually and have the time of my life.

After my lesson is complete, Vincent takes over and spins and banks and turns upside down and all around to finish off the thrills. I can’t take the smile off my face and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness.  When we fly upside down, I can’t believe it.  We’re flying upside down!

I’ve only seen this type of thing in the movies or at the Toronto International Air Show and here I am participating and loving every minute of it.

After the flight I felt ready to take on the art of flying and Vincent set me up for a great photo op. He even made sure that I held on to my head gear like a true professional.


It was an absolutely amazing experience and I think it is New Zealand’s best adventure. While people were jumping out of planes next door, I had my first certified flying lesson and had the opportunity partake in Aerial Acrobats in a Stunt Airplane. How many people do you know that have done that?

U-Fly Extreme is located in the South Island of New Zealand in the Motueka in the Abel Tasman Area. You can find out more at their website http://www.uflyextreme.co.nz/  this Trip was made possible by Flying Kiwi and courtesy of UFlyExtreme.

While the trips were complimentary, we would never endorse anything if we didn’t feel it was a great experience. We would simply leave it out of our blog as we wouldn’t find it blog worthy. So far everything on our Flying Kiwi Experience has indeed been blog worthy.

This post is also a part of the #Blog4NZ effort going on with travel bloggers around the world uniting to show that New Zealand is open for business.

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Leave a comment


  1. Pete

    How awesome is this!!! The fact you get to fly yourself, how cool. I don’t know if I would get nauseous, but I certainly want to find out. Great post.

    1. davendeb

      Hey Pete. Looking out the window helps a lot. I was amazed at how little nausea I felt. It just felt more like pressure rather than spinning. It is pretty cool that for a brief time I was actually in control of the joystick.

    1. davendeb

      Nicole that is so cool that you have a commercial pilots certificate. You are going to have to make your way to Abel Tasman to flip upsidedown one day soon!

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Marcello. It was something I never thought I would do in my life. It was so much fun, you have to give it a try.

  2. Alouise

    What an amazing experience, first time flying a plane, and it’s a stunt plane. The video was fantastic, but I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to something like that. Still it looked like you had a blast.

    1. davendeb

      Alouise if I was brave enough you definitely would be. I have a fear of jumping off of things and when I saw the nose dives that I was going to have to do I thought I was going to faint. I had to keep drinking water because my mouth was so dry and my palms were so sweaty before flying. But then as soon as we took off I felt complete bliss!

  3. South America ME

    Wow, what an incredible experience. I’d love to be able to flip a plane.
    I love the motto:
    “If you are going to try something, don’t try it half assed, go for it 100%”

    1. davendeb

      Alright Merav. I can’t wait to see how you like. If you loved skydiving, stunt plane flying will be a piece of cake for you!

  4. Kirstin

    Looks like you folks are still enjoying the tour! The plane-flying must have been incredible… bet Dave was jealous! Someday when I find my fortune I’ll have to follow in your footsteps and try all of your amazing adventures for myself! (Also, I agree and love the motto!) Keep flying like a kiwi! Cheers :)

    1. davendeb

      Kristen you are so right. Dave was jealous. Thanks for stopping by. we are just now finished with the Flying Kiwi and can get you the photos and stuff. You are one major adventurer yourself. The way you leapt off that bungy jump was amazing!

  5. Anis Salvesen

    What a video! I love how Vincent has the calm, authoritative instructor voice the entire time, as you exclaim. Like you, I haven’t heard of anyone else offering such a service; I wonder how they got the idea. It’s brilliant, and when we make it to New Zealand, this activity is definitely on our list!

    1. davendeb

      I know eh. I am so embarassed when I watch the video. i am whooping and hollering all the way through. We commented to Vincent on how he must be going deaf from all the people screaming into his headset. He said that he does have volume control:) He also said that it is the quiet ones that he worries about. They normally are the ones that start to feel sick and throw up. We screamers just have a great time letting all the stress out:-) When you come to New Zealand, you should definitely do it, as far as Vincent and we know it isn’t offered anywhere else in the world. Especially the actual driving part. As you can imagine it would be impossible to franchise:)

  6. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy

    What an adventurous experience! Absolutely amazing, once in a lifetime activity. Takes great courage to do this, sounds like an unforgettable ride. Really liked this post and the photos.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks! When in New Zealand you just have to let go of all fear and go for it. So many of the things here are a once in a lifetime opportunity, we would feel awful if we went home missing out on something extraordinary like this.

  7. Vincent

    thanks for the kind words.. was fun flying with you.. and one correction.. the “throttle” you mention.. is/was the joystick.. looking forward to seeing if Dave deos actually turn up to have a flight :)

    1. davendeb

      Thanks for the correction Vincent, I will get on that. I know of a few people that want to come now after seeing the video. Everyone is in agreement, it’s pretty much the coolest thing you can do in the air.

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  21. Arianwen

    I’m signed up to do this next Wednesday!! It’s good to know you enjoyed the experience and weren’t paralysed with fear! :)

      1. Arianwen

        It was incredible! I still can’t believe they let me do all that. I wasn’t convinced I’d dare to roll the plane but it’s actually easier than it looks, isn’t it?!

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