Lucas Arts, Boba Fett and Captain Rex costume flights
XBox Halo Video Game Launch, Costume flight as a jet packin' Spartin
The Ellen Degeneres Show
2007 Tournament of Roses Parade, State of Oklahoma 150 year anniversary
V Energy Drink, New Zealand and Australia
Carrollton Natural Blond, Australia
1984 Olympics 25th Anniversary
Fact or Fiction, SciFi Channel
Sony, 3d promo
African Cup, Angola
Amazon Outreach Flight, Parintines, Brazil
Universal Studio's Florida
Ride for Cancer, New Liskeard, Canada
MPH, Cardiff, UK
Rugby Match Opening, Stade de France, Paris
DTM German Touring Car Masters, Hockenheimring Germany
Grand Opening, Ocean Park, Hong Kong
Baseball Game Opener, Yokohama, Japan
Carib Series, Mexicali, Mexico
De Cuyp, Rotterdam, Holland
City Day, Yekaterinburg, Siberia
2014 Olympics Launch, Moscow, Russia
Dittinger Flugtage, Air show, Switzerland
Neutral Day, Ashgabat Turkmenistan
Midnight Sun Air show, Finland
Good Morning America
Neiman Marcus, Santa Claus Flight
DARE Rodeo, Choctaw Nation
Future Farmers of America (FFA), Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Parade
OU College Football
TV Made Me Do It, Discovery Canada
SciQ, Discovery Canada
Seeing it, dreaming about it, even working with it still does not give you the slightest idea of what it is. The only way to truly appreciate it is to strap it on and try it for yourself. Like everyone who dreams about flying a Jet pack, I imagined the feel of the handles, the resistance of the controls. I practiced the maneuvers a thousand times in my mind and I had all the confidence in the world. When it finally came time to turn that throttle in real life, none of that mattered. Not my back ground, not my confidence, not my meditation. Basically what happen was, someone turned on a fire hose and all I was doing was putting fingerprint impressions into the handles.
Finally on April 19, 2001 I was ready for my first free flight. Flying on the cable provided a very comfortable feeling of security. Going off it opened the door to many unknown risks and anxiety. But I knew that there is a point when you have to free yourself from the safety of your nest and just fly the damn thing. So I did.
Three days later I was in the hospital fighting for my life.
After retuning from the hospital and three skin graft surgeries later the fog cleared a bit I decided to get the best help I could, so I got down on my knees. Actually, to be honest, I think it was face down on the carpet and I prayed: “Lord if this is what You want me to do please make it clear but if I’m going to get killed or paralyzed in this thing, take me out of the saddle and give me a safe job like a firefighter or police officer, but ultimately, I will do whatever it is You want me to do - for You.”
It was four and a half years after moving to Texas, hundreds of training flights, overcoming a near-death crash and a lot of perseverance all came down to this: I was a professional jet pack pilot. It was at that moment, standing on the beautiful sandy beach, getting ready to perform my first professional jet pack flight for millions to see. It hit me. I felt like the coyote strapped to the Acme rocket.
Over the next several years, my skill continued to blossom and my anxiety withered. The performances got more challenging and the travel more exotic. To date I have visited 31 countries on 6 continents and I have been blessed to perform at some of the world’s biggest events and encounter some of the lesser traveled places on earth.
Some of my more memorable challenges include traveling to remote areas such as the Amazon River, Turkmenistan and Middle East. Here, overcoming the problems of transportation, logistics and experiencing other culture was its own reward.
Occasionally the flights were easy but it was the objects I was carrying that presented the challenge. I’ve carried pyro effects, a lit torch, on-board cameras, an endless variety of flags, awards and special items, even a three foot high lip stick for L’Oreal in Vienna. That didn’t end well; but it was my color.
In the middle of the parade route, in front of hundreds of millions of people and after the flight of my life, George Lucas and I had a very short, intimate conversation. It was amazing! And what did he say? For the life of me, I can’t remember.
Would I have started training in October of 2000 if I already had a family?
Would I let baby Danny fly when he gets older?