Amy Freeze flies with Bethpage Air Show acrobatic pilot

BETHPAGE (WABC) -- The Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach is a thrill from any location. I got a breathtaking preview from an acrobatic pilot.

"This is your D ring if we have to get out...I'd open the canopy," Lt. Col. John Klatt, Pilot for the Air National Guard, said. "Let's get you strapped in for the ride of your life!"

Platt is one of the top acrobatic pilots in the world, after flying 25 years for the Air National Guard.


"We're gonna do some hardcore acrobatics, multiple snap rolls and fly upside down," the pilot exclaimed.

As the propeller hummed and the engine started to scream, Platt explained that at 80 or 90 mph the plane is airborne.

From Republic Airport, we fly south, riding west along Jones Beach and then over the open Atlantic.


Platt asked how I felt so far and told him I was as cool as a cucumber. After all, Platt has flown F-16s around the world.

At 4000 feet and going 200 mph, the Extra 300L is capable of unlimited aerobatics: cork screws, rolls and reverse rolls; the tricks were wild and thrilling. Now that's how to see Jones Beach!

Then, he handed the controls over to me! What? Let me just say I'll stick to forecasting.


"Flying in the guard has made my dreams come true," Platt said.

"Long Islanders look forward to this in the summer. It's the heritage of Long Island and I like being a small part of it."

For him, the ride was a day at the office; for me, an unforgettable adventure.

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