Retired Air Force pilot back in Midland to fly in the AIRSHO - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Retired Air Force pilot back in Midland to fly in the AIRSHO

Rick Kelley (Source: KWES) Rick Kelley (Source: KWES)

It's a job many kids dream of. For one veteran, it's what he knows best.

Rick Kelley is a pilot who has been flying for 35 years, he retired after flying 30 years in the Air Force.

Now, he's back in Midland to take part of the 27th annual AIRSHO where West Texans get to watch WWII aircraft and performances.

"As a kid, saw airplanes and it was the coolest thing in the world," said Kelley. "I loved a career in aviation and I wanted to serve the military so to do those two together so that worked out. For me, it's like putting on a job. It's something that I always loved to do and I don't think there will ever be a time in my life when I wouldn't want to put my job on."

Kelley is no stranger to Midland. He had his first air show routine in the Tall City and flew in last year's AIRSHO. He's taking it to the skies again this year, flying a Nanchang CJ-6. Built in the 50s, it was a trainer for the Chinese government. 

After two and a half years of restoration, Kelley has used it for several air shows, showing not only what his plane could do, but the symbol for what it stands for.

"It's for people to understand what it takes to maintain our freedom here in the United States," said Kelley. "They give a lot of themselves in order to do that. A lot of air shows with the military airplanes brings forth the power of the United States and a great demonstration that way. Even though I'm retired from the Air Force, I'd love to keep doing it."

If you missed out on the AIRSHO, you can catch more of the fun on Sunday and see for yourself how the sky is the limit. 

Tickets are $25 for adults. Kids 6-12 get in for $5. Kids under 6, active duty and Korean and WWII veterans get in for free. 

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