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Air Guard aerobatic performer announces season opener in ‘St. Joe’

John Klatt will be performing at the 139th Airlift Wing Open House and Sound of Speed Air Show in St. Joseph, Mo., May 5-6, 2012. (Photo courtesy of John Klatt Air Shows.)

John Klatt will be performing at the 139th Airlift Wing Open House and Sound of Speed Air Show in St. Joseph, Mo., May 5-6, 2012. (Photo courtesy of John Klatt Air Shows.)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Air National Guard's foremost aerobatic pilot and his team are scheduled to kick off a renowned air show tour here May 5-6 at the 139th Airlift Wing Open House and Sound of Speed Air Show.

John Klatt announced this week that he is taking flight in his eighth air show season with the Air Guard, starting at Rosecrans Air Guard Base.

"We've really been friends with Missouri, and I am looking forward to starting the year out there," said Klatt, a veteran F-16 and C-130 pilot with the Air Guard.

"The 139th is a great unit, with great people and missions. To be a part of their air show is pretty special for us."

Klatt performs precision aerobatic maneuvers with his Staudacher S-300D that include barrel-rolls, loop-the-loops, flips and spins with jaw-dropping skill. He teams up with Neil Darnell with the Flash Fire jet truck - titled the world's fastest jet-powered truck - and fellow aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon as part of the Air Guard's "Max Adrenaline Extreme" air show team.

Together, they help educate the public about the Air Guard, the Air Force and the National Guard.

The team is scheduled for 18 shows this season.

"We are at the hanger right now... getting things out and working pretty hard," said Klatt, from his home in south Minnesota.

The team's aircraft and jet truck are rolling out with their newest colors and graphics.

There are other additions to the show too, since they last performed here.

"At St. Joe's air show, we will have a wall of fire, the jet truck, more airplanes in the air at the same time and more excitement as well as a lot of things that I think the air show community will find entertaining," said Klatt.

When not in the air, the team will partner with local recruiters to give autographs and to speak with the general public at their mobile recruiting unit and Air Guard display.

Klatt pointed out a steady increase in air show attendance through his 12 years performing.

"Air shows are really one of America's greatest pastimes," said Klatt. "Families are looking for ways to get out and do different things."

Admissions to the air show and the open house here are free. Gates open at 10 a.m.