LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- A familiar roar sounded out across the Coulee Region. One of the Navy's "Blue Angel" jets returned to La Crosse for a reconnaissance mission.
The F/A-18 Hornet aircraft carried two pilots to La Crosse Wednesday morning to brief the crews working this year's Deke Slayton Airfest. The pilots said safety is their number one mission when performing their tactical demonstrations, but they still manage to get as much of a thrill as they provide--even when simply scouting the area.
"From Milwaukee to here, because we were a little bit late, I made sure we tried to make as good of time as we can, just like the airliners say. So, we made it in about 15 minutes," said Lt. Ryan Chamberlain. "The aircraft itself just performs much better. For instance, out of Milwaukee I was able to climb much faster and higher than I normally would on a typical hot day and that's just because the airplane likes cold weather."
Chamberlain said having an experienced crew both on the ground and in the planes themselves makes performing the difficult maneuvers easier. Still, he said they never mistake comfort for complacency.
"Certainly the guys never get complacent for that reason. When you're 18 inches apart going 400 miles an hour, you really don't want to get too comfortable at any given time, so they're going to practice this ten to 15 times a week," said Chamberlain.
The Airfest runs May 31 through June 1.
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