Thunderbirds take flight in Janesville - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Thunderbirds take flight in Janesville


By Diana Henry - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

JANESVILLE (WKOW)-- The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will perform at the Southern Wisconsin Airfest. 

In a story you see only on 27 News, Diana Henry got a preview Friday of what those on the ground will see--- but from a different perspective, from the cockpit.

Flying in an F-16 takes a lot more than just hopping into the plane and fastening your seatbelt.

I went through about 3 hours of training to learn how to prevent blacking out from blood rushing from my head while pulling "g's." The g-suit I am strapping on my lower body helps put pressure on me to withstand pulling up to about 4-g's.

Put on my helmet and oxygen mask and I am ready to take to the skies with my pilot, Captain Kristin Hubbard, call sign Mother as in Mother Hubbard.

"I love it because it gives me the opportunity to say thanks to the community for all their support," said Captain Kristin Hubbard. "It gives me the opportunity to represent the world's greatest Air force."

We take off heading straight to the clouds pulling nearly 7-g's right out of the gate, meaning I felt 7-times my body weight pressing against me. The g-suit helps but I have to do the rest with special breathing and squeezing my muscles to avoid blacking out.

While I didn't black out I did succumb to motion sickness. But I am not complaining. It was exhilarating!

"You did outstanding," said Captain Hubbard. "You are true a hard worker. I cannot believe that you kept just hanging in there and it was a lot of maneuvering. 9-g's, pulling and rolling and everything else, yanking and banking as we say. Fighting through it is definitely tough but you are a true warrior."

While we were out for fun, the other Thunderbird pilots practiced for this weekend's shows.

"It really showcases our ability to work together as a team and be very precise," said Captain Hubbard. "A lot of those maneuvers you saw today they are the same skill sets that our fighter pilots who are deployed right now in Iraq and Afghanistan have."

It brings a new appreciation for these elite pilots and the crew.

The Thunderbirds perform Saturday and Sunday in Janesville. Gates open at 9am. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30am.

Click here for more information on Airfest.

Click here for more information on the Thunderbirds.

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