High-flying air spectacular returns to southern Minnesota

MANKATO, Minn. (FOX 47) – Preparations are underway as the Minnesota Air Spectacular returns to Mankato, for the first time since 2015.

The main attraction will be the Thunderbirds, the US Air Force’s air demonstration squad.

“We got a ground show to show you guys, an air show to show you guys, it’s going to be an action packed weekend and a lot of fun.” said Major Matt Kimmel of the Thunderbirds.

The team goes through four months of training in Nevada before taking the show on the road.

“You’ll see us do some opposing passes, where it looks like we’re playing a game of chicken and then crossing by each other at show center,” Kimmel said. “There’s times we’ll be doing mirror image of each other and times we’ll be doing sneak passes by the crowd. Maybe they’ll be looking in one direction and we’ll go by and give them a little bit of a surprise.”

The two day event has several other stunt performers, rides for kids, food and expects to draw thousands of visitors.

Part of the draw, unique aircraft like the “Screamin Sasquatch” biplane. A blend of old and new, the 1929 model has a modern jet engine mounted beneath it.

“The airplane is capable of all kinds of crazy maneuvers,” said pilot Dell Coller. “Loud, fast and in your face, you’ll enjoy it, I promise.”

It’s part of John Klatt Airshows, a team that previewed some of the adrenaline rushing stunts. The rolls, twists and turns are just some of the many tricks that his team will be showing off all weekend.

Both pilots say it’s an honor to have the jobs they have, something they dreamed of since childhood.

“When I was 10 years old, I saw the Thunderbirds and now I’m flying for them.” said Kimmel.

“It just seemed like a great way for me to feed my wild side.” Coller said.

On both days, the gates and ticket sales open at 9 and the show begins at noon.

Alex Tejada

Alex Tejada

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