Thick mist billows in its wake like vaporized oil from a smoke system as the Niagara River tumbles over its namesake escarpment in a breathtaking aqueous Lomcevak. I catch occasional glimpses of the famed falls’ plume as we mimic its thunderous mayhem a few miles and an ever-oscillating number of thousands of feet of altitude to the south. This must be what it’s like going over the falls in a barrel—if the barrel had a radial engine and a big prop and pulled a lot of positive and negative G’s. We’re rolling and tumbling in a 1994 Sukhoi Su-29, the two-place trainer from the celebrated line of Russian aerobatic aircraft. Rick Volker (rvairshows.com), who flies a one-place Su-26 and a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1X on the air show circuit, is demonstrating some of the qualities that brand Sukhois—in his opinion and by world aerobatic gold medal count—“the number-one unlimited category aircraft.”
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