SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- All eyes were on the skies this weekend at Skyfest, and some of the performers talked about their experiences.
Carol Pilon is a member of Third Strike Wing Walking and is the person who actually walks on the plane’s wing. Her and her pilot, James Leavelle, perform this death defying feat several times a year. Pilon has been walking the skies for 17 years.
“I saw an ad for my local air show and it was the first time I’ve ever seen wing walking and I had no idea it existed and quite frankly it just grabbed me by the spine. And it’s owned me but I mean how much fun is that,” asked Pilon.
Pilon is in good hands up there, in fact Leavelle is retired Air Force.
“I would never let anything happen to her,” said Leavelle.
It is safety first but these two are possibly crazy to perform this death defying stunt.
“Absolutely, come on did you see that,” said Pilon.
The crowd got to see some pretty amazing performances take flight, including the Vanguard Squadron’s acrobatics from the air.
“It was really good air, it was smooth, and it was just a really outstanding crowd here,” said Vanguard Squadron member, David Myers.
It was perfect conditions to make figures in the air, which takes a lot of focus and practice to do correctly and safely.
“One thing is it’s a lot of trust with the lead pilot. You need to be focused the whole time,” said Myers.
“Some of the new guys that we just pick up without much formation experience it’s going to take them two or three years to get spun up,” said Vanguard Squadron member, Gary Middlebrooks.
It takes a lot to be able to pull off performances like these, but for these Skyfest performers it is all worth it.
“It’s the ultimate freedom,” said Middlebrooks.