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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedAir Guard members get a 'high' with Klatt ride
By Airman First Class Ryan Roth, 115th Fighter Wing, EAA AirVenture Today

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Don Nelson 115 FW/PA
Maj. John Klatt provided incentive flights to recruiters and Guard volunteers during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

July 31, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - In the shadows of the world's largest commercial airliner and the very first commercial space vehicle, the greatest part at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 for some Wisconsin Air Guard members was an incentive ride in an Air National Guard-sponsored stunt plane.

Maj. John Klatt, a pilot from the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota, is a civilian aerobatic pilot who partners with the Air National Guard to assist in their recruiting efforts at air shows across the nation. In addition to his performances at the air shows, Klatt provides incentive flights to recruiters and Guard volunteers as part of his work to promote the Guard, while helping recruit and retain its members.

"I cannot stop smiling," said Airman First Class Melissa Childs, personnel specialist with the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, after her ride. "I was very nervous to fly in this plane because I did not know what to expect."

The land-based part of the program is the mobile recruiting unit, part of the Air National Guard tent display at the annual air show and display in Oshkosh. The unit is designed to draw visitors' attention to the Guard and to assist recruiters and other volunteers as they answer visitors' questions.

"Our overall mission is aiding in the recruiting and retention for the Guard. The EAA has the largest air show in the world and this is a great opportunity to spread the word about the Guard," said Klatt.

Each incentive flight lasts 15 to 20 minutes and often includes aerobatics stunts like rolls and stalls. The aircraft Klatt flies is the Staudacher S-300D, which is capable of pulling more than 20 g's, which is twice the load of the F-16C Fighting Falcon.

"Coming to Oshkosh gives us the opportunity to speak directly with individuals who have an interest in aviation, essentially our bread and butter," said Tech. Sgt Nikki Crivello, a recruiter with the 128 ARW. "During the run of AirVenture, we get just over 100 recruiting qualified leads."

The John Klatt Air Show, contracted by the Air National Guard, participates in 18 to 20 air shows per season.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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