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by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
Orville and Wilbur Wright. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Goose and Maverick. Shane Doan and Tyson Nash.

Which one of these pairs seems extremely out of place?

If you’re thinking Doan and Nash do not belong on a list of such noteworthy aviators, well you’re correct. But just for a second, let’s pretend they do.

Tyson Nash (left) and Shane Doan at Luke Air Force Base. Photo by Norm Hall
Here's the scoop: Doan is a novice pilot who has flown a small plane. On Friday, he and Nash cranked things up a few notches when they accepted the chance to ride inside F-16 fighter planes based at Luke Air Force Base. Doan and Nash were passengers in separate planes for an hour-long, two-ship orientation flight, and both had a terrific time.

“It was an unbelievable experience that is really hard to explain,” Doan said. “I was so excited about it. I couldn’t wait for it to happen. We took off and the second we got to the end of the runway we turned and went straight up 90 degrees and I was blown away.”

Doan estimates that his plane, flown by a pilot nicknamed “Monster,” was travelling about 600 miles per hour. He said Nash’s plane, flown by a pilot nicknamed “Blade,” was able to travel faster because Nash weighs less than Doan.

Shane Doan
Doan said his flight was surreal.

“Honestly, it felt like a video game,” Doan said. “It really did. We kind of got to handle the plane for a few moments at a good altitude where nothing bad can happen, and I was blown away by how the stick moves just a few millimeters in each direction. It's more about the pressure you put onto it.”

Doan’s pilot challenged Doan’s flight stamina – and his stomach - by doing some tricky maneuvers that left Doan staring down at earth through the plane’s canopy.

“I was dry heaving but nothing left my stomach,” Doan noted, proudly.

Asked if at any point of his flight he feared for his safety, Doan said no.

“I was never worried about that. I was worried only beforehand when they were teaching us the proper technique if you have to eject. When they’re talking about that you’re thinking ‘Wait a minute, there’s a chance I may have to eject?’ But they have to teach us that, just in case. When I was strapped inside the plane fear never crossed my mind once.”

Shane Doan gets ready to take flight. Photo by Norm Hall.
There are rumors that both Doan’s flight and Nash’s flight were delayed. Nash’s flight, according to Doan, was delayed because they couldn’t close the plane’s canopy because it kept hitting Nash’s nose. Doan’s flight, according to Nash, was delayed because they couldn’t find a mask that would properly fit Doan’s crooked nose. Nevertheless, both enjoyed an experience that both said might be best left as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I’m not sure,” Doan said after asked if he would ever do the flight again if given the chance. “I absolutely couldn’t wait to do it but I was not feeling too hot when I was done. The pilots told us that’s the way it is for everybody and you just have to deal with and get past it, which I did. So I don’t know if I’d want to do it again tomorrow. In a year or two? Maybe.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check back to in the coming days to watch a video of Doan and Nash in flight.
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