CAF AirSho Takes to the Skies, Promises High Flying Fun

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--  The pilots that perform those death defying stunts say it's a much of a thrill for them as it is for the audience watching.

"You're basically getting ready for a pretty awesome roller coaster ride," F-15 co-pilot Capt. Crystal Kirkley, said.

Whether it's a WWII fighter or something a little more modern, you're sure to see it at the 2010 Western National Bank- CAF AirSho.  You'll even see something a little less conventional,  a glider with an engine. It's the Super Salto, a jet powered sail plane.

According to pilot Bob Carlton, "This plane can do what ever the smaller planes can do. I take off, under my own power, get up into the sky, pull the throttle back and do a kind of aerial ballet to start with."

Probably one of the louder attractions in this year's air show, the F-15 Strike Force Eagle Stunt Team.  These guys put on some pretty impressive maneuvers.

"We show you the power of the airplane.  The sound of the engines is something we're really known for.  We do the high speed pass, where we light the burners and go by really fast, up to 600 mph," Pilot, Maj. Mike Maeder, said.

Something you may not see too often, comes in the form of Maj. Maeder's co-pilot, 
Capt. Kirkley.

"I guess you do notice, in the beginning, when you first start out, you're in the minority in that aspect.  But, yeah, there's starting to be quite a few more.  It's definitely good to see," Kirkley said.

For all three of the pilots, flying above the crowds isn't so much a job as it is a chance to have a good time.

According to Carlton, "Every air show is different, but it's just a wonderful group of people to be involved with."

"The planes I have with me are actual combat aircraft.  We just download the bombs and the tanks to show you the demonstration.  They are fully capable to go into combat tomorrow," Maj. Maedor said.

"It's very physically demanding so you've got to be in pretty good shape.  The adrenaline starts going, so you get really excited," Capt. Kirkley added.

This year, the CAF AirSho will have a night show on Saturday night featuring Super Salto and a mid-air fireworks display.