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Cloudy,64°
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Flying high at Bethpage Air Show
(Page 2 of 5)
The Geico Sktypers soar over the Jones Beach shoreline as they type giant messages and perform a low level precision formation during the annual Bethpage Air Show over Memorial Day weekend. The Royal Canadian Air Force headlines this year’s event.
The CF-18 Demonstration Team, led by Capt. Patrick “Flocho” Pollen of 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, is ready to tear up the skies over the Jones Beach shoreline.
“The show I’ll be performing is very demanding, and I’m excited to master the various maneuvers and demonstrate the capabilities of the CF-18 Hornet,” Pollen said. “I’m also really looking forward to representing the Canadian Forces and having the opportunity to connect with people across North America.”
Born into a military family, Pollen always had dreams of becoming a pilot. It wasn’t until his first air show that he decided to fly fighters.
“As soon as I saw the jets at my first air show, I knew I wanted to rage around the friendly skies as a fighter pilot,” Pollen. “To have the opportunity now to fly the Hornet in air shows as part of the CF-18 Demo Team, and maybe inspire future pilots, is an honor.”
Pollen has deployed overseas twice and has accumulated more than 3,200 hours of military flying in high performance aircraft but is looking forward to the challenges of his role as the 2013 CF-18 Demo Team pilot.
The Canadian team is joined by a returning favorite, Sean Tucker, in his high-performance aerobatic aircraft, the Oracle Bi-Plane. Tucker, who was named a “Smithsonian Living Legend” and has been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, has flown more than 1,000 performances at more than 425 air shows. He has logged over 20,000 hours flying, which if done all at once, would take over two years, 24 hours a day.
Tucker’s precision aircraft is a fire-breathing monster with over 400 horsepower, weighing just over 1,200 pounds and responds to the slightest pressure on the control stick even at 300 mph. Tucker has become so in-tune with his machine that, while performing, he has said the control stick becomes his feathers and the aircraft, his body.
Another popular aviator, Lt. Colonel John Klatt, an active member of the Air National Guard, who has flown three combat deployments in the Middle East, will take everyone through an amazing sequence of jaw-dropping aerial maneuvers.
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