Pilot Billy Werth hopes to pull off new Thunder Over Louisville stunt
WDRB's Rachel Collier got to take a ride in the air with stunt pilot Billy Werth.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of the pilots taking part in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville airshow hopes to pull off a feat he's never done in the show before.
Pilot Billy Werth thrives on a rush of adrenaline.
"It was in my later 20s -- early 30s -- that the daredevil started to come out," Werth said. "I was kind of a chicken as a little kid."
His favorite trick was captured in a YouTube video with over 1 million views. It involves flying upside down, just feet from the ground, as his brother on a motorcycle touches the plane.
"Now I gotta turn it up a little bit," he said.
He always turns it up a notch for Thunder Over Louisville.
"A lot of people ask, 'How'd you do that with the airplane?' Or, 'Don't you get sick?'" Werth said. "That's the No. 1 question is, 'Don't you get sick up there?' Which I don't. I mean, I practice this all the time, so you're used to it."
You'll get to see him fly his stunt plane twice in the show.
"I'll be flipping the airplane around in ways most people are completely amazed that the airplane even does anything at all -- a combination of tumbles, torque rolls and spinning the airplane around," he said. "Probably buzzing a few boats on the river, stuff like that."
And this year, he's doing what he said no pilot has ever done in the show before: fly three times with a civilian and military plane.
"I'm actually going to land at Standiford, hop out of this airplane, put my military flight suit on, jump in the tanker, do that fly-by, land, change into this flight suit, and then fly this one," he said. "It will be a busy Saturday, but it will be fun."
He's an instructor pilot in the Air Force Reserves with the KC-135. Think of them as gas stations in the sky for other military planes.
"Fighter jets, for example, they can fly for about two or three hours," Werth said. "Well, it takes eight hours to cross the ocean. So we provide the gas for them. We actually hook up to the other airplane in the air at 400 miles an hour."
Is there anything Billy Werth can't do? He's even crash landed a plane!
"I kinda floated over the top of the four cars," Werth said. "There were two cars: a Harley and a beige Chevy Traverse. The wife was driving. Her eyes were 'that big.' I missed the last car by 8-10 feet. And then the airplane just quit flying."
Werth walked away with a few stitches in his hand, making him more rock star than pilot.
But if you ask Werth, more than anything else, he's just a kid.
"This never gets old," he says, flying the plane. "I still giggle like a little kid each time."
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