Over the 60 or so years of the Farnborough air show there have been dozens of display teams that have thrilled the crowds - but rarely has an airline done that.
The UK-based Blades is a registered carrier run by former members of the Royal Air Force elite display team The Red Arrows. Because it is an airline, it can take passengers to experience the thrill of formation aerobatics.
This year, the ex-Arrows will be showing their skills in the air as part of the daily flying display - and then hosting corporate guests at their chalet before giving them the chance to experience for themselves just what is involved.
© The Blades
As part of the pre-show build-up, I joined the team for a practice run. On arrival I was kitted out in my flying suit and parachute. After a 10min "airline" safety briefing I was given a headset and made my way down to the airstrip, along with three other passengers, to where the four Blade aircraft were waiting. It was a Top Gun moment.
The Blades fly German-built Extra 300 LPs, one of the leading high-performance aerobatic aircraft in the world, and in front of the gleaming propeller I was introduced to my host, Dave Slow, a former BAE Systems Harrier pilot, known as Blade 2.
He made me feel at ease straight away. I was securely strapped into my seat at the front of the two-seater aircraft and, after a short briefing and some words of encouragement, it was time to start engines. Taxiing down, Slow explained over our headsets what to expect.
"We only fly elements of the show with passengers as the actual full display is too much," he said. "We start off with gentle manoeuvring and get people used to flying in gentle formation, then we can do some manoeuvring with that and, as the passenger gets more confident, we can separate and show what the Extra can do."
All four Blades taxied to the runway. Being in Blade 2 meant we were next to the leader, Blade 1, who gives commands to the other aircraft. With the build-up of engine power, my excitement and adrenaline started to kick in as my clammy hands clung to the sidebars by my seat. All four Blades were now ready to take to the skies. And up we went.
The first thing that is obvious is how close the other Blades are to you, an eye-watering experience itself. How do they remain so perfectly apart, yet so close? "With lots and lots of practice," says Slow. "On an average display weekend we can end up doing five flights in a day, where three are displays, and we will transit between display venues on the other two trips. Each flight is extra practice to make it perfect."
The glass canopy enabled me to have great views of the Hampshire landscape below. It was gentle, but I was nervous with anticipation, knowing a manoeuvre was coming up. Slow communicated with me at all times, reminding me to say if I was uncomfortable or worried.
© The Blades
"We will start off with gentle turns, then increase the amount of bank and go up a bit and down a bit and introduce a vertical element before building up to fly a loop," he explained.
I was all for it, expecting the sensation of a rollercoaster ride. It came. I was stuck to my seat barely able to move as we reached for the skies. Then we dropped and, although dramatic, it was slightly calming as you feel weightlessness, as if you are floating. Then another force took over my body.
"You just experienced 3-3.5g-force on your body as we pulled up from the bottom of the loop," said Slow after we had completed a circle in the air. "The g washes off as you go up, because the aircraft slows down, so as you get to the vertical the g has gone back to about one and then as you go over the top you're down to zero g and then you get the same in reverse as you come out of the other side, so the g builds as the speed builds and as you pull out of the dive at the bottom you get back up to 3-3.5g-force."
After I had composed myself, I wanted more - and I got more.
The Blades have flown more than 300 displays in front of 18 million people and carried over 1,000 corporate flying event passengers. Now a fully sustainable business since it was set up in 2006, the Blades are looking to spread out to other countries as they are constantly in demand for their display skills and their corporate hospitality opportunities.
© The Blades
"Our difficulty will be recruitment, as we only recruit ex-Red Arrows, who are few and far between," says Slow.
The sky is not the limit for these guys and they want others to experience it too.
"We want to push people past their perceived limits, but nowhere near their real ones, and that is a real skill, as everyone has a different limit," says Slow. "We don't want to make anyone airsick; that is not what the experience is about. It's about an adrenaline rush and fun."
With their own chalet at the Farnborough air show, the Blades are hoping that their presence will encourage companies to look closely at the corporate offer and try a flight for themselves. And I would recommend it.
I came back down to Earth with breakfast fully in place and the biggest smile on my face from an unforgettable experience.