It’s one thing to meet and interact with Breitling USA President, Thierry Prissert; it’s a complete “turn” of events to immerse myself into the Breitling experience. I had tried on, tested, and discussed at-length the black steel chronograph with yellow highlights, created to celebrate the Breitling Jet Team, the world’s largest and most professional civilian jet display team, the evening before during dinner at Gloria Ferrer Vineyards. It wasn’t until the next morning that I was able to fully understand why Breitling’s timepiece was paying homage to the pilots of the Breitling Jet Team.
I was getting ready to fly with them.
At the Sonoma Jet Center in Sonoma, California, the first step was to get officially suited up. I put on my black flight suit and helmet to match the experienced pilots’ wardrobes, and of course, received a pre-flight briefing. No amount of explanation could prepare me for what was to come, however.
I stepped into the jet (#8, to be exact), I was secured in the ejection seat by the mechanic assigned to our jet, and became anxious as we lined up next to the other jets ready to take off in a 3-2-2 formation.
Before I could stop to think about it, we were over 6,000 feet in the air flying in formation with 7 other jets, pulling 4 G’s, overlooking the Sonoma Valley. Then, came the moments that I’ve never experienced before. First, the loop and B1 bend, then a barrel roll, and then another loop. There’s nothing quite like seeing the Sonoma horizon upside down—it was breathtaking. The best part about it was that all of the jets were in proper formation in the air, within 8 feet of each other! My pilot, specifically, was responsible for giving orders over an intercom to the other jets when it was time for them to “final break.” In total, the flight last about 20 minutes.
I’ve been very fortunate to experience fun and interesting events with watch brands over the course of my career, but this is certainly one that I will never forget. There is not a feeling in the world I could compare to flying in a Breitling Jet. I am honored and privileged to work with an incredible team at Breitling and I hope to take part in many more events like this in the future. Thank you to the entire Breitling Jet Team, as well, for keeping all of us safe and for providing a once in a lifetime experience!