A few lucky individuals had the thrill of a lifetime when a charted Amerijet "ZERO G" B727-200 took about 10 people up for a few hours of weightlessness! The ZERO G plane, tail number N794AJ, was up for about an hour to give its guest the experience what it's like to be in space. This same aircraft took Hawaii math and science teachers up for an hour the next day as part of of an ongoing program with the Northrup Grumman Foundation.
According to their website, aboard their specially modified Boeing 727, G-FORCE ONE, weightlessness is achieved by doing aerobatic maneuvers known as parabolas. Specially trained pilots perform these aerobatic maneuvers which are not simulated in any way. ZERO-G’s passengers experience true weightlessness.
Before starting a parabola, G-FORCE ONE flies level to the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then begins to pull up, gradually increasing the angle of the aircraft to about 45° to the horizon reaching an altitude of 34,000 feet. During this pull-up, passengers will feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next the plane is “pushed over” to create the zero gravity segment of the parabola. For the next 20-30 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. Next a gentle pull-out is started which allows the flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. This maneuver is repeated 12-15 times, each taking about ten miles of airspace to perform.
After the plane landed and taxied to parking, I walked over an saw each individual come off the aft airstairs and celebrate their flight. Both the captain and another crewmember greeted them at the bottom and took a photo and turned their flight name tags right side up indicating they completed their 15 parabolas. Most looked like they were fine. On person, looked a little worn about the experienced, but beamed a big smile when cheered by his fellow teammates. One person even kissed the ground upon deplaning!