Pair of aerobatic pilots to put on show over Tri-City Water Follies

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Air National Guard pilot Lt. Colonel John Klatt flies his ANG painted Panzl S330 above the Tri-Cities with fellow pilot and friend Bill Stein flying his Edge 540 in the background during a media flight. Both stunt pilots will perform this weekend as part of the Tri-City Water Follies Air Show this weekend. Thursday, July 22, 2010

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In his Panzl S330 Air National Guard pilot Lt. Colonel John Klatt rolls inverted and flies above friend and pilot Bill Stein in his Edge 540 during a media flight to preview the Tri-City Water Follies Air Show this weekend over the Columbia River. Thursday, July 22, 2010

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Stunt pilots Air National Guard Lt. Colonel John Klatt (foreground) and Bill Stein (background) tip their wings toward each other in tight formation during a media flight Thursday morning over the Tri-City airspace. Both Klatt and Stein will fly stunt shows during the Tri-City Water Follies Air Show this weekend over the Columbia River. Thursday, July 22, 2010

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With the air show smoke on, Air National Guard pilot Lt. Colonel John Klatt performs a series of rolls in his Panzl S330 over the Tri-Cities airspace during a media flight Thursday morning. Klatt will be performing at the Try-City Water Follies Air Show this weekend for the first time. Thursday, July 22, 2010

PASCO -- Flying straight and level isn't John Klatt's bag.

Klatt and fellow pilot Bill Stein like to spend weekends making their airplanes do things sane pilots usually avoid. But it's all in a day's work for these guys.

The two will be part of the aerial show put on during the Tri-City Water Follies, which begins today and runs through Sunday. Both pilots will display their aerobatic skills during the HAPO Community Credit Union Over the River Air Show which begins at 2 p.m. each day.

Thursday morning Klatt and Stein went up to twist their specialized craft through the sky for the benefit of two cameramen riding along in a Beechcraft Bonanza.

"OK guys, John's going to roll inverted here," Bill Kerns, the Beechcraft's pilot, told the photographers crouched behind him. Flying only a short distance from the Beechcraft's wingtip, Klatt calmly whipped his Panzl S-330 upside down and held it there, smiling for the cameras.

Next he and Stein went through a series of rolls, spins and other maneuvers, marking their paths with tangled trails of smoke produced by a special system that sprays oil onto the engine's hot exhaust. "In a t ypical performance, (Klatt) will go through seven or eight gallons of smoke oil," Kerns said later.

When he's not knifing through the sky as part of the Air National Guard's aerobatic team, Klatt is Lt. Col. John Klatt with the 148 th fighter wing of the Duluth (Minn.) Air National Guard, where he is an F-16 pilot.

Back on the ground after Thursday's flight, Klatt said he doesn't have a preference between the sleek fighter and the nimble custom planes he amazes people with at air shows.

"I like flying them both," he said. "They each have a different mission."

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