Hillsboro Air Show

Published: August 20, 2011

Hillsboro Air Show, If you look in the sky of Hillsboro this weekend, you’re likely to see the Patriots Jet Team, a team of highly skilled pilots flying fighter aircraft from the Soviet era in close formation.

If you looked up Friday morning, you might have seen these drivers to make a few loops as they showed off to reporters and tried to destroy their breakfast in the back seat.

The Patriots Jet Team is in town to fly into the air the Oregon International Trade Fair this weekend at Hillsboro Airport.

The team has six drivers that do a series of loops, rolls and other stunts in close formation. And when they say family, they mean really close.

For most of the show, the planes are only about six feet away. At times, they get even closer.

On Friday, the team was generous enough to let me go for a ride in one of their combat aircraft L-39. The L-39 is a Czech-made Soviet-era jet, which was primarily used to train fighter pilots.

The Patriots jets were fully restored and equipped with a red, white smoke machine and blue. They now have around the air show circuit.

After a safety briefing that includes the appropriate procedure for bail and stay connected to your parachute, we got on airplanes.

My pilot was John “Boards” Posson, a commercial airline for a long time and stunt airplane pilot who currently earns his living as an instructor on board vintage WWII fighter planes. (The nickname “Boards” comes from his penchant to use the air brakes L-39 during flight training. The brake, which appears at the bottom of the back of the plane, is known as a “Board”).

Posson taxied to the runway in the leading position it would maintain throughout the flight. In formation flight, the pilot head is responsible for guiding the other drivers. The other drivers never take their eyes off of his plane.

“My responsibility is to not endanger them,” said Posson. “Their sole responsibility is to not hit me.”

After takeoff, we flew to the west of the airport in Hillsboro for a minute or two before choking up our first loop.

I expected a warning, but there was none. The G-Force began building as we walked in the bottom of the loop. I was told to tighten every muscle in my body to slow the blood rushing away from my head.

With tight muscles still won, we arrived at the top of the loop. In an instant, the pressure is gone.

At the top of the loop, the gravitational force is only about half as much as it is standing on the ground, which made me feel incredibly light I looked up the canopy to the ground below.

“Everyone thinks that if we are upside down in the formation of diamond that we work really hard,” said Posson. “The truth is, g is out of the plane, and the pressure is off. When we get in the loop, we are at 4.5 g. that’s when the plane gets really sensitive and the pressure is greater on our bodies. ”

The calm at the top of the loop was short-lived. A split second later, the plane rolled around and behind the G-Force built up.

After a second loop, we cruised around for a bit and landed back at Hillsboro Airport.

The pilots, all of which have catchy nicknames that seem straight out of Top Gun, are the face of the Patriots Jet Team, but behind the scenes there is a crew of 30 people working to get the show on the ground.

Each of the six had a team leader who is responsible for maintaining the aircraft. Posson team leader is a man named Kojack.

“Kojack and I are a team,” said Posson. “I’ll do anything for him and he is proud to be the jet ready for me. I’ll tell you, Kojack do not buy a lot of beer when I’m there.”

In addition to the Patriots, the air show will also feature many other aircraft including a parachute team, aerobatic biplane a race and a great 1945 Beech 18 that makes acrobatic feats.

“We’ll do a take-off roll and make loops, rolls and figure eights,” said Matt Younkin drivers. “There’s a lot of smoke and a lot of noise and it’s a great plane to fly.”

The first show is Friday night at 6:45 p.m. There are also performances on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:45 am for more information visit the website of the Oregon International Air Show.

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