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Arts / Culture

Pilot-Athletes at "Sun n' Fun"

Thunderbirds.jpg

The Lakeland Linder Regional airport has become one of the busier airports in Florida this week because of the annual "Sun n' Fun" fly-in and air show.

Thousands of private pilots fly in to the event which is capped by weekend air shows that this year feature the Air Force aerobatic team, "The Thunderbirds."

Veteran air show announcer Rob Reider is at "Sun n' Fun" as announcers chairman, describing what's going on in the air for the people watching on the ground.

And he says that aerobatic pilots are more than just great pilots, they are athletes.

"The pilots who fly the most punishing acrobatic acts will experience 'G' forces sometimes in excess of 9 times the force of gravity... so just lifting your head is extremely challenging. Not to mention the fact that you have to squeeze all the muscles in your lower body to keep the blood up in your head so you don't pass out."

Reider says pulling those kind of' G' forces for even 20 seconds is a lot of work.. especially when you are flying in tight formations at 500 miles an hour.