Fort Wayne Air Show set for this weekend

U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Plane/Pic provided by Heather Starr WOWO

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – There will not be a lack of entertainment for this year’s Fort Wayne Air Show.

This year’s show will feature many performers flying various planes.  Some featured attractions are Kent Pietsch, Skip Stewart, F-86 Sabre, P-51 Mustang “By Request”, U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt, Blacksnakes Combat Search & Rescue and of course, the famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

You can also take a look at some planes that are on display like The A-10 Thunderbolt, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-52 Stratofortress and the T-6 Texan II.

Precision Exotics will be hosting rides in their high end sports cars.  You can also take a ride in a fully restored B-17.  Flights will be available on Friday and before and after the shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Public Relations person for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Major Ray Geoffroy says that the people of Fort Wayne are in for a fantastic show this weekend.  He says that preparation requires a lot of training practice. “All of our pilots have at least 750 hours in a fighter aircraft. Most of them have a lot more than that.”  Major Geoffroy says that there is 130 people on the team which includes not only the pilots, but also maintenance and support personnel to help make the mission happen.

Thunderbirds pilots will do a diamond formation.  Planes one through four will do the diamond formation, then two solo pilots, will be coming between the diamond passes. The solo pilots will be doing a lot of the high performance maneuvers for the show.

Civilian pilot Kent Pietsch is flying an Interstate Cadet in his portion of the show.  The Cadet was built in 1941.  It was built for a civilian pilot trainer for WWII.  Pietsch states that a plane just like the his Cadet was one of the first planes shot at in Pearl Harbor.  The plane has a 35 foot wingspan, 90 horse power and can go 100 miles per hour.

Pietsch has been flying planes since 1967 at 16-years-old.  He started out with his private license at 17 and his commercial license at 18.  He retired from flying commercially for 28 years.  Now he flies the Cadet and is sponsored by Jelly Belly Candy Company.

He does several stunts with the Cadet.  One of his stunts includes landing on top of a small pickup truck.   Another act is the airplane will fall apart in the sky including the tires falling off.  He also does a “dead stick” where he shuts the engine off at 6,000 feet and lands the plane with a person standing on the runway with their hand out.  He will the roll to a stop with the spinner gently touching their hand.

Pietsch has been doing this type of flying since 1974.  He says he started this type of flying when he was a charter pilot in little airplanes. He could tell people were scared  about flying and the plane falling apart.  He would do these maneuvers for people, “To show that an airplane can lose power and still land within an inch of where you want to be, I do that dead stick act.”

He says “Any airplane does not need an engine to fly.  It needs an engine to get up there, but once you are up there, the wings do all of the work.”  He said in commercial planes they would start their decent at 35,000 feet.  “We’re gliding all of the way to the airport anyhow.   So if you lose power in the A320, as long as you’ve got a place to put it down, you’re going to be okay.  Sully proved that in the Hudson.”

The event also includes food, novelties, refreshments, concessions, a kid zone and a bier garten.

The Fort Wayne Air Show will be held on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  The gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. with the feature flying show from 12 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on both days.  For more information on the Fort Wayne Air Show, click here.

 

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