Updated: Nov 30, 2021
In 1988, Captain Mike Blackstone founded the world’s first civilian air combat school. Its purpose was to teach civilians the art of aerial combat and to ensure that ordinary people could experience firsthand what it is like to experience the thrill of being a fighter pilot.
Today, satisfied patrons call it “a one of a kind experience.” Captain Blackstone and his flight instructors call it:
Embrace Your Inner Maverick
If you have ever dreamed of knowing what it feels like to engage in an exhilarating WWII-style dogfight or conquer the skies in a genuine fighter plane like Maverick and Goose, Air Combat USA is here to make that dream a reality. At Air Combat USA, you can live out your fantasy of taking the controls and flying authentic fighter aircraft in a one-on-one dogfighting scenario, no experience necessary. Take to the skies in an SIAI Marchetti SF-260 sitting side-by-side with one of our extremely qualified instructors, soaring to altitudes of up to 7,000 feet over scenic Long Beach, CA.
There is no better time than now, to see for yourself what being in a real fighter jet feels like. With the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise June 26th 2020 , it could be a wonderful reminder of your in air experience to watch this highly anticipated film.
Our team of passionate and licensed instructors will take the time to thoroughly brief you on all essential information and guidelines to ensure your success after takeoff. We work hand-in-hand with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other governing agencies to abide by any and all safety parameters so we can provide you the best experience possible. After receiving instruction through our multi-phase process and being outfitting in a real flight suit, helmet, and parachute, we promise you will feel confident and ready to take to the skies.
Independently Fly Your Aircraft Up to 90 Percent of the Time
When you fly with Air Combat USA, you get to truly pilot your own aircraft. We will pair you up with one of our highly-trained and certified flight instructors to act as your copilot, many of whom were former military aviators themselves. Your instructor will handle the takeoff and landing, leaving the rest of the flying to you. Should you ever veer off track or need a quick break from the controls, your copilot will be more than happy to take command while you enjoy the ride.
Our SIAI Marchetti SF-260 genuine fighter planes are equipped with stick controls and unique side-by-side seating. Unlike other fighter aircraft that employ tandem seating, our planes give you the ability to assume command of the aircraft and easily hand off control when necessary. You will be well-versed on the controls of your aircraft, as well as all important safety information before beginning your flight. Each of our planes is fully combat-ready and proven to be capable of performing in the aerobatic environment of air-to-air combat.
Confront Your Iceman and Compete for the Top Gun Trophy
Do you seek a competitive edge in your thrill-seeking endeavors? Have a friendly rivalry you want to finally settle once and for all? During your Air Combat USA partner package flight, you will get to face off against another aspiring pilot in realistic air-to-air combat. So, bring along a friend or family member to challenge in one-on-one aerial dogfights and find out who’s really the Top Gun.
Out-maneuver and out-gun your opponent while using our patented tracking system to lock onto your target and verify your “kills.” You will get to hear accurate sound effects and watch your opponent’s aircraft react with simulated smoke in real-time for an incredibly realistic experience. Our flight programs let you feel the rush of chasing and dodging your opponent while performing aerobatic maneuvers like loops, vertical rolls, and spins and experiencing up to 6 G’s and times of Zero Gravity ‘weightlessness’.
Each aerial combat encounter lasts about one fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping minute, with multiple runs performed during each flight program. Our programs last about an hour each, after which you or your opponent will be crowned the victor.
Do your best and conquer your opponent for eternal bragging rights and an unrivaled sense of accomplishment. After all, “there are no points for second place.”
Relive Your Best Moments in HD
All of our aircraft are equipped with onboard cameras to capture your entire flight experience. After landing, your instructor will play back the video with you and go over each maneuver, providing a unique review with valuable insights on your flight or provide tips for next time. Once your session is over, you get to bring home your footage, share or relive your unforgettable foray into the world of high-octane dogfighting.
Be a Fighter Pilot for a Day at Air Combat USA
Air Combat USA is the ultimate attraction for aircraft enthusiasts and true thrill-seekers alike. We have proudly flown over 50,000 guest pilots and operated as the premier civilian air combat school for over 25 years. With no flying experience or pilot’s license necessary, our accessible flight programs are open to just about everyone.
We strive to create the most authentic WWII-style dogfighting scenarios for civilians by letting you take control of your own plane and live out the Top Gun experience firsthand. As we like to say at Air Combat USA, everything is real…except the bullets!
Air Combat USA is headquartered at the Lyon Air Museum in beautiful Santa Ana, CA. We also operate out of 29 cities around the US. If you are ready for the thrill of a lifetime or want to purchase a one-of-a-kind gift package for a loved one, call Air Combat USA today at 714-402-4888 to learn more about our flight programs. In return, we promise to provide you an extraordinary fighter pilot experience.
 McNary, Dave (June 30, 2017). “Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Gets July 2019 Release Date”. Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2017