KENNEWICK, Wash. -- "You can expect a lot of cool things from this airplane, It's extremely noisy, very loud airplane, a lot of smoke, kicks out a lot of smoke," says the aerobatic pilot of the Lucas Oil Plane, Michael Wiskus who is planning on his first performance in the Tri-Cities this year.
The 52 year old has been in love with planes since he was about 10 years old. He's been involved in airplane tricks for about 20 years, was even a part of the US Aerobatic's Team, competing against other countries in the skies. Although his passion is aerobatics, he says it's more than just a hobby.
"If you don't take this on as a profession, it can kill you pretty quickly. There is a lot of risk to it,.When you're doing 160 miles an hour upside down, 15 feet off the water, it takes just a small movement for you not to be able to go home and see your wife and kids," he says.
Wiskus says half the battle is having the right kind of plane, a 1996 Pitts bi-plane, now a show plane. "This aircraft I took to the World competition in 2004 in Sweden. It was originally built in 1999 it has a roll rate of 400 degrees per second in other words its just a blur. It will roll that fast about 400 degrees per second. everything it does, it does it extremely aggressively," he explains.
Wiskus also wears three harnesses in the cockpit, and of course a parachute. He says once you're upside down going 160 miles an hour, the pressure pushing him out of the plane is about 1,400 pounds. But part of the risk is the fun. Wiskus says he's planning on doing 25 shows this summer.
The HAPO Over-The River Air Show will happen both Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am to 1:30pm.