September 22, 2010
They're the planes you can expect to see in this weekend's flight festival as they execute high-performance tricks, and KAKE crews got to ride along.
Air National Guard Pilot Lt. Col. John Klatt took reporter Stephanie Diffin on a ride full of high-performance aerobatics, including flying upside down, spinning, and what he called the "Hammerhead."
"Ok now we're going straight up, and now we're going straight down," Klatt said from the cockpit.
Photojournalist Jonathan Hoskins rode in a separate plane just feet away, capturing the entire ride on camera. For KAKE News crews, it was a one-of-a-kind experience. For Klatt and the rest of the Air Guard team, it's what they do everyday.
"Everyday you get to wake up and go flying, and have the cockpit be your office space. It's pretty phenomenal," said Klatt.
It's also an important recruiting tool, as these plane aerobatics spark interest in the Air National Guard for audiences at air shows across the country.
"My dad used to take me to air shows as a youngster and it's really awesome to be able to represent the Air Guard at air shows, and maybe inspire the next generation," said Klatt.
Klatt says he knows what some call inspiration, others may call a little crazy...
"They're probably right to a certain degree. But what looks crazy I've trained my whole life for, and I go out and practice everyday," said Klatt.
The Air Guard will perform at the Wichita Flight Festival this weekend. It's this Saturday and Sunday, the 25th and 26th, at McConnell Air Force Base. For more information about the festival click here.
Learn more about the Air National Guard by clicking here.