WBBM Newsradio/Terry Keshner

Pilots Do Practice Runs Before Air And Water Show

August 16, 2018 - 8:15 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Before thousands of people gather along the lakefront to watch and listen to the Chicago Air and Water Show, the planes have to be tuned up and the pilots have to get in their practice.

Air Force Major Will Graeff flew into Chicago from Las Vegas on Thursday in his F-16 as part of the Thunderbirds.

This will be his first Chicago Air and Water Show. He tells WBBM that he and his fellow Thunderbirds got to spend about a half hour on practice runs over Chicago and said it's a "beautiful city.”

Maj. Graeff has been in the Air Force for a decade and served in several areas overseas.

Air Force Capt. Andrew Olsen is taking part in the show by flying the F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet, which travels at 1,200 mph and costs $96 million.

WBBM Newsradio's Terry Keshner hangs on for dear life.

He said he hopes his plane — considered the most advanced fighter jet in the world -- will be used for thrills, not fighting.

“It keeps the world at peace and is in a deterrent role it's doing its job and I think that's what we're all hoping for.”

Sean Tucker and his Team Oracle Acrobatic planes are also another fan favorite returning this year. 

On Thursday, a 16-year-old sophomore at the Chicago Air Force Academy High School named Angel Cardenas flew a practice run with Tucker over Lake Michigan, performing several twists and dips and dives on a sunny day. 

Tucker said afterwards that Angel was a "natural" and believes he'll be a pilot someday, which is Angel's dream.

WBBM Newsradio/Terry Keshner

Angel's mother watched her son fly from another Team Oracle plane flying closeby. It was loaded with several reporters, including WBBM Newsradio's Terry Keshner, who sat near the open door of the small propeller twin-engine plane and held on tightly the whole time.

Remember to take a radio to the Lakefront this weekend. WBBM Newsradio will have live play-by-play coverage of both days.

We’ll also have a live video stream at wbbmnewsradio.com or on the station’s Facebook page.