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
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.