Broncos CB Champ Bailey may be on the tail end of his career but on Monday he was not afraid to go into a tailspin as the perennial Pro Bowler went for a ride that hit a top speed of 630 mph in an F-16 fighter plane.
According to the Denver Post, Bailey met the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during minicamps after coach Jon Fox invited them out after mechanical problems shut down his own trip to the heavens.
He expressed an interest in taking a ride and he was granted his wish.
“That’s when I met some of them and I told them I might be interested in trying to go,” Bailey said. “Next thing I know, I’m in the room (Monday) and they’re explaining how to eject if something happens.
“I wasn’t sure about all this when they were going through the procedures, how he would say ‘Bail out’ three times if something happened and how you had to pull the lever to eject and all that … how we would just have a nice talk on the way down if the parachutes were out.
“My life was in the best hands possible, and when we got in the cockpit I wasn’t worried at all. I was just anxious, and then he hit it at the end of the runway, and it was ‘Whoa.’ We were straight up, and he rolled it over and you could see how far away the ground was already.”
As for how the trip felt on a body that has never experienced such force before, Bailey was awestruck.
“It was like having a bunch of people standing on you. You couldn’t breathe, you couldn’t move, you couldn’t do anything. It was like you were frozen, smashed into the seat,” Bailey said. “I don’t know how those guys keep flying the plane, but (for the pilot it) was like he was parking a car.
“But when he was acting like we were chasing somebody, that was intense. We were going 6 G’s, 7 G’s for like a full minute at a time.”
Bronco’s fans are now ready for Champ to take flight on the field as they enter into a season of filled with optimism.