‘I like the concept of floating’: Experience weightlessness on a ZERO-G flight

Local News

FOX40 Meteorologist Adam Epstein takes us along on an epic flight.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTXL) — If you ever wanted to go to space, but your NASA career didn’t work out, ZERO-G offers a flight that gets you as close as possible to floating in space without being an astronaut. 

“This is literally the most fun you can have with your clothes on,” Dr. Marc O Griofa told FOX40.

O Griofa is a ZERO-G flight coach.

He worked at the Kennedy Space Center for three and a half years doing biomedical research. O Griofa’s studies required zero gravity, so he used parabolic flights, eventually leading to working with ZERO-G.

“I’m a space guy,” he said.

A parabolic flight is when a plane arcs upward, increasing the G-force on your body to almost twice normal gravity. As the plane approaches the top of the arc, it falls over the hump, and it goes into a 30-degree nosedive resulting in about 30 seconds of weightlessness.

“It’s exciting. [I’m] slightly nervous, of course,” Ralph Lohr said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Lohr, a first-time passenger, has been thinking about booking this flight for five years. He grew up fascinated by Apollo 11 and has been skydiving multiple times, but he now wants to experience pure zero gravity.

“I like the concept of floating. Hopefully, I don’t get nauseous,” Lohr said with a laugh. 

Meanwhile, Sven Cremer joined a ZERO-G flight for the second time.

“It was like total sensory overload and you go into panic mode. I spent most of my time in fetal position,” Cremer described.

He wanted another chance to be more adventurous and do some stunts.

“Superman. Maybe a backflip. One-armed pushup,” Cremer mused.

Geared up in a flight suit, FOX40’s Adam Epstein boarded the modified Boeing 727 and climbed to about 25,000 feet.

Coach O Griofa shared some final words of advice. Then the passengers lay down to ease the G-force during ascension.

The first parabola let the passengers experience martian gravity, a third of their body weight.

The next two parabolas, figuratively, take them to the moon.

“We’re on lunar gravity: one-sixth of your body weight,” Adam Epstein said. “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for local news.”

The fourth parabola was a full-on zero gravity. Otherworldly. Completely unique. 

A slight flex of your pinkies on the ground would push your body to the ceiling. Fortunately, the plane walls are entirely padded.

Once time was up, the flight’s one-of-a-kind flight attendant gave a warning: “Feet down! Coming out!”

In the 30 second rounds of zero gravity, your options of what to do almost feel overwhelming. You can spin, bounce or even fly like Superman.

The coaches released jellybeans and squirt globs of water for the passengers to try catching with their mouths. But once the 30 seconds are up, the floating globs sink into puddles.

“The only other way that you get to experience this is astronauts onboard the space station,” O Griofa said.

By the 15th and final parabola, it was all smiles as the flight eventually headed back to Oakland.

“This time, I did a bunch of moves: floating along the entire airplane, did some backspins,” Cremer told FOX40 once back on the ground.

“You’re gonna edit this part: F—in’ great,” Lohr exclaimed after the flight. “Yeah, sometimes you come out feeling like, ‘Oh boy, yeah, that was tough.’ But it was well worth it.”

With thousands of parabolas under his belt, FOX40 asked coach O Griofa if he’s tired of it yet.

“No, it never gets old,” he answered.

ZERO-G travels around the country, offering flights for anyone willing to buy a ticket. It costs $6,700 plus tax per person to fly.

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