CHICAGO (CBS) — It wouldn’t be late summer in Chicago without the sound of a military plane zooming through the air, turning eyes skyward from Lakeview to the Loop.
Practice for the Air and Water Show has been in progress for the past couple of days, and the show kicks off on Saturday. WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty and CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole each got to take a ride with one of the acts.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports
Harty says the cockpit inside an AeroShell aerobatic plane looks pretty modern, even though they used to train pilots in World War II.
Pilot Mark Henley says later in Korea, the AT-6 Texan would fly over battlefields, spotting and marking enemy artillery.
“My airplane actually was used for that, and it’s got a bunch of bullet holes in it still today,” Henley said. “They’ve been patched, but they have the original bullet holes in them.”
Pilot Bryan Regan compares the wind over Chicago skyscrapers to rocks in a busy stream.
“All those eddies and everything are just in the air, and when you’re going 240 miles an hour through that stuff, it’s just like, bam! You’re getting hammered by it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gerasole took a flight with Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle. The aerobatic pilots flip and spin through the air at 3,500 feet.
“Flying is just a great metaphor about pushing boundaries,” Tucker said. “I’m not sure everybody likes airplanes, but everybody flies in their dreams.”
But Gerasole was flying, and spinning, for real, riding along in Tucker’s Oracle Extra 300 high over Lake Michigan.
“Do you still get jazzed every time you do this?” Gerasole asked Tucker after some flips that seemed to make the most intense carnival ride look like a rocking chair.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s still a challenge. I mean, look what I’m doing. I’m flying 10 feet away from another airplane.”
The Air and Water Show is presented free by the City of Chicago and Shell Oil Products. It’s on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at North Avenue Beach.
If you can’t make it in person, you can listen live on WBBM Newsradio, and watch live streaming here on CBSChicago.com.