News Article | 10/10/2008

Aerobatic pilots gear up for Fort Worth Alliance Air Show

FORT WORTH — Maj. John Klatt pushes the throttle on his Staudacher S-300D plane as it roars off the runway and into the skies over North Texas.

Within minutes, his red, white and blue plane is upside down and quickly turning into three hard rolls. Just as he steadies the plane west of Alliance Airport in north Fort Worth, the plane shoots straight up into the sky in a well-scripted routine.

“This never gets old,” the Air National Guard pilot said.

In December, Maj. Klatt, 41, will take his flying skills on his third tour of Iraq. But for now he and dozens of other aerobatic pilots are gearing up for this weekend’s Fort Worth Alliance Air Show.

Maj. Klatt said he got a taste of flying upside down after he joined the Air National Guard 19 years ago. Since then he’s bought his own plane so that he could learn more complex maneuvers.

“There isn’t anything he can’t do in an airplane,” said Chester Frank, who works on Maj. Klatt’s crew. “He’s smooth. He’s definitely one of the top 10 aerobatic pilots in the world.”

Maj. Klatt’s team performs in air shows across the country to raise awareness about flying and the Air National Guard.

“It’s pretty rewarding,” he said.

Nonetheless, he will soon be preparing for more serious work in Iraq. Maj. Klatt said he volunteered for a third tour because he believes it’s his duty.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m pleased to be a part of that and support the ground troops.”


Where: Alliance Airport, 2221 Alliance Blvd., Fort Worth

When: 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (Aerial shows start at 9:30 a.m.)

What: Dozens of pilots will perform aerobatic maneuvers and static displays. Children’s activities will also take place.

Cost: Admission is free. Parking is $20.