Highlighting Key Brothers Air Show

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

My Father was a Navy pilot so I had heard the phrase "pulling Gs" many times before. But it wasn't until now that had the chance to experience it for myself.

"The acrobatics, some people can't handle it very well. You did," said Burt "Stone Hands" Zeller, air show coordinator. "It's just, in some of those maneuvers, say you weigh 110 pounds? Up there you weighed 440 pounds."

We'll just say he was in the ball park as far as my weight goes. Simply put, the extra pounds are created by the high rate of acceleration of the plane due to the sharp turns performed during certain maneuvers.

"We did a normal wing over, a barrel roll, and we did a loop. I had fun, did you?" asked Zeller.

"I had a great time!" I said.

We flew in a T-6, the basic World War II trainer aircraft, which will be featured in this weekend's air show.

After Zeller put me back on solid ground, he flew producer and photographer Rebecca Ward, repeating the same stunts. This causes me to ask, how do the pilots manage these stunts so well? What does it take to be a stunt pilot?

"I started by doing civilian flying first, and then I went into the military and got extensive training," said Zeller. "That's where I learned my acrobatics was in the military. To be an air show pilot, you have to have a lot of experience."

"I have flown for over 35 years," said stunt pilot Gary Rover. "I was an F-16 instructor pilot. I fly professionally. I have always wanted a P2-17. So, that is really how I got my start in all of this."

Rover and Zeller will both be featured in this weekend's air show. I will say, if the show is anything close to what I was lucky enough to experience, onlookers will not be disappointed.

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