Reaching for the sky

Cooroy-based builder John Jenkins (left) will take control of a MIG 29 fighter heading into the stratosphere at about twice the speed of sound.
Cooroy-based builder John Jenkins (left) will take control of a MIG 29 fighter heading into the stratosphere at about twice the speed of sound. SASA RADICAP

JOHN Jenkins may head Cooroy-based building company Ricon, that has Federal Government accreditation and employs up to 300 people on projects in remote desert locations, but right now he's more like an excited nine-year-old about to head off on his first school camp.

What's got him pumped is the gift he's bought himself for his 50th birthday on May 22.

An avid mountain climber who has tackled Kilimanjaro, his life-time ambition has been to reach the summit at Everest.

Age and failing knees may have put an end to that pursuit but the former British Special Forces soldier has found a real blast of a way to spend his birthday.

He flies to Moscow next week where he will receive training and a medical assessment at a Russian military air base, learn the rudiments of flying a MIG 29 fighter aircraft, be fitted with a pressure suit and then, with an air force pilot at the controls, fly 24kms straight up into the stratosphere.

At that height he will experience weightlessness, releasing a tennis ball that will hang suspended in the cabin before plummeting back to Earth at two and a half times the speed of sound.

At some point he will take control of the plane for six kilometres where he will pilot some basic manoeuvres.

Then, after a series of aerobatics above Moscow, the plane will fly at just 10m above ground breaking the sound barrier.

"I won't have the controls then," he laughed yesterday.

The pressure on his body when the MIG is at full throttle will be nine times his body weight.

Jenkins has been told if he starts to see in black and white he needs to signal the pilot to back off before he blacks out.

That's not something you'd want to do on a 50 minute journey costing $30,000.

The price of a ride into the heavens may seem steep but the MIG will burn five tonne of fuel and requires a staff of 120 to stay in the air.

Jenkins has paid a bit extra to have the entire ride captured from a series of angles both in and outside the cabin, a lifetime reminder of a 10-day break a world away from the pressures of a growing business.

Topics:  mt everest russia

Jog for Jugs this October

Sarah from Jog for Jugs at Coolangatta Beach.

Help support breast cancer research.

Hare Krishna School proves LNAP success

TOP GRADES: A student from the Hare Krishna School takes her time doing her English school work.

Students at the Hare Krishna School are above national average.

Tweed cricket: Cudgen continue unbeated run

Clubs battled it out in Round Three of the Tweed District Cricket Association over the weekend.

Tweed District Cricket Association Third Grade wrap.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Expert's talk on Olley's life is not to be missed

THE ARTIST: Artist Margaret Olley at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in 2006.

RARE insight into the life of one of most cherished hoarders

Priscilla concerned people will forget about Elvis

Priscilla Presley source Bang

She says she feels responsible to keep his legacy going

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track