Aerobatic and Air Show Performers
Lt. Col. John Klatt
Lt. Col. John Klatt is one of the top aerobatic performance pilots in America. He has thrilled millions of air show spectators for the past decade, with his own unique blend of precision, power and performance. He has served in the Air National Guard for more than 20 years - flying combat, air support and humanitarian missions throughout the world in the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" and the C-130 "Hercules" aircraft.
John's Air National Guard career and service has equipped him with some of the finest flight training in the world, and it is a tremendous honor for him to use those skills to entertain air show fans.
The Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team at Shaw AFB, S.C., performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities by one of the Air Force's premier multi-role fighters, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The team also works with the Air Force Heritage flight, exhibiting the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.
Alan Henley – Team Lead and Founder
Alan Henley is the original founder and Team Lead for the AeroShell Aerobatic Team. In late July of 2008, Alan suffered a severe neck injury while playing with his children at home, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. His injury has forced him to deal with major challenges in recovery, yet he fights every day to regain the use of his limbs with his signature courage, spirit, and determination. His heart and soul fly on with the Team at every show, and every loop and roll the Team does is flown with the conviction that he will one day fly with us again.
Alan and his twin brother Mark were raised in an aviation family, where flying was a way of life. After soloing at age 16, Alan transitioned quickly from flying the family’s Cessna 140 and J-3 Cub up to the T-6. After graduating from West Alabama University in 1980, Alan discovered an interest in aerobatics that would eventually lead to a successful career in airshows. He flew the family’s Stearman in several airshows, and then began flying the T-6. He met Steve Gustafson at an airshow in Jackson, Mississippi, and the two formed what would later become the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team.
Alan is a CFII in both airplanes and helicopters. He holds FAA Type Ratings in the North American B-25, Grumman C-1, Grumman TBM, Douglas A-26, Douglas AD-4 Skyraider, Douglas DC- 3, Lockheed 18, and an unlimited LOA for experimental aircraft. He is also an ICAS ACE Examiner, and an A&P Mechanic. He has recently been inducted into the USAF’s Heritage Flight Program, flying vintage warbirds in formation with modern fighters. Alan is married to Jennifer, and has two children, Skylar Grace and Brandon Cole.
Gene McNeely – Slot
Flying slot is Gene McNeely. He became interested in flying while in high school. He served a tour in the Navy, and used the G.I bill to realize his dreams of flying, then began flight instructing and crop dusting. Gene operated his own agricultural business for over twenty years, then began another business as an air cargo service operating Beech 18’s, DC-3s and MU-2s. Gene discovered his passion for the T-6 while watching Steve Gustafson’s father fly one in an airshow.
Gene happened to be at the air show as a spectator when Merle was flying a T-6. Gene saw Merle’s performance in the T-6 and said, ‘I gotta have one of those!” In addition to performing in one of these vintage trainers at air shows, Gene races in his other T-6 at the Reno Air Races and has been finishing in the top five since 1986. Gene is also active in homebuilding aircraft, and has built several experimental planes. His latest project is a Van’s RV-8. Gene is married to Iris, and has two sons, Greg and Eugene.
The AT-6 Texan Advanced Trainer
Nicknamed “The Pilot Maker”, the North American AT-6 Texan first appeared in 1938. Originally designed as a basic trainer for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), the Texan was the primary training platform for all U.S. airmen in World War II that went on to fly fighter aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, P-40 Warhawk, and others.
- Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340 AN-1
- Wing Span: 42 ft.
- Length: 29 ft. 6 in.
- Maximum Take-Off Weight: 5,617 lbs.
- Maximum Level Speed: 212 mph
- Normal Range: 870 miles
- Armament: Under wing attachments for light bombs and rockets
Mark Henley – Team Lead
Mark has been flying airshows for over 20 years. Alan’s twin brother, Mark was also interested in flying at an early age, and developed a passion for vintage aircraft. Their father, Tom was a collector of classic planes, so the opportunity to fly Stearmans, Cubs, Champs, T-6's and Mustangs came his way. Mark enjoyed flying the T-6 so much he decided to buy one for himself in the late eighties. Before joining the team he performed in a stock PT-17 Stearman, North American AT-6, and North American P- 51D.
Mark has flown over 80 different types of aircraft and has type ratings in the AD4 Skyraider, Grumman TBM, Douglas DC3, Boeing B17 and the North American B-25 Mitchell. He also holds a letter of Authorization (LOA) that covers all piston powered experimental aircraft, single and multiengine. Mark is also a Certified Flight Instructor and a certified Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic. He is married to Anna Laura, and has three children, Tanner, William, and Jonathan. Mark’s T-6 is named Miss Tanner, after his daughter.
Bryan Regan – Right Wing
Bryan dreamed of flying for most of his childhood and absorbed as much information as possible from books and films. He furthered his interests through attending airshows and joining organizations such as EAA and the Civil Air Patrol. Although he grew up in among a CAF membership in South Louisiana that included the likes of Merle Gustafson, Bryan would not meet Steve or the other members of the Aeroshell team who shared the same skies. He would not even find the means to pursue flying on a serious level until college. After seeking any opportunity to fly during the first year, including hauling skydivers, he began riding along on night freight runs in Beech-18s, eventually turning the opportunity into a job washing, fueling and maintaining the aircraft. This led to a meeting with airshow pilot Earl Cherry, who would employ Bryan as a relocation pilot and crew chief (“The Greatest Crew Chief Alive”) for three years. Next came a sixteen year stint with the Red Baron Squadron, flying all four positions including airshow lead for the last four.
The Aeroshell Team found itself in need of a backup lead pilot in the summer of 2008 and Bryan had both the availability and the experience to fill the position. Alan refers to him as his “Stunt Double”. He has a Commercial single and multi-engine license with an instrument rating and over 7,000 hours, nearly half of which is formation aerobatics. When not flying, Bryan pursues auto racing, most recently on dirt tracks. He lives mostly in beautiful Arizona, but still calls the south his home, especially Louisiana.
Steve Gustafson – Left Wing
Steve began flying when he was a teenager, soloing his family’s T-6 while he was a junior in high school. By the age of 23, he had accumulated over 4,000 flying hours. Steve holds a commercial, multi-engine instrument pilot license and a type rating in the North American B-25, and is also type rated in the FG1D Corsair. He is a CFI single and multi-engine instructor, seaplane rated, and is a certified commercial aerial applicator. He is a graduate of Sowela Technical University with an A&P license.
The son of the late Merle Gustafson (Angel of Okinawa Corsair fame), Steve started flying air shows at the age of 19 and has inherited his Dad's skill for aerobatics and formation while acquiring a competence and style all his own. Steve is also an ICAS ACE Examiner. He has recently retired from an aerial application business in Tallulah, LA, and also farms over 450 acres of cotton and corn. Having logged over 24,000 flight hours with no end in sight, Steve says flying with the team is the most challenging flying he has ever done. He is married to Julie, and has three children, Jennifer, Brad (also a pilot), and Ashlyn.
Greg Shelton has been performing in air shows since 1990. His interest in aviation began at an early age watching fire bombers in northern California and listening to his father’s adventures of flying fighter aircraft in the U.S. Navy. In 1982, Greg began flying lessons in a J-3 Cub, but before he finished his pilot’s license he traded the Cub for a Starduster Two so he could pursue aerobatics. Greg’s next aircraft was an AT-6 Texan project that would take him four years to completely restore. What originally started as a 1952 Canadian Harvard MK IV that served in the RCAF from 1952 until 1965, Greg’s newly restored AT-6 was one of the most beautiful warbirds on the aerobatic air show circuit. He has also performed at air shows in a Yak 52. And from 1994 until 2003, Greg owned and performed in a Yak 55M. In 2003, he decided to add a wing walking act to his growing list of air show performances. He purchased a 450 Super Stearman painted in patriotic colors of red, white, and blue. Greg has wowed audiences all over the United States and abroad with his aerobatic wing walking routine. In December 2006, Greg sold his AT-6 to make room for his newest airplane, the FM-2 Wildcat. Much to the amazement of air show spectators, Greg performs a full aerobatic air show routine in the Wildcat. Greg has often been referred to by many as “one of the best aerobatic warbird air show pilots”.
The Wing Walker
Ashley Shelton was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her passion for aviation started at an early age building and flying model airplanes with her father. After high school she pursued an art history degree and worked at an art museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma for 7 years. Looking for a bit more adventure, she decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller. When a medical issue prevented her from graduating basic military training at Lackland AFB, she went on to complete her Associate’s Degree in Air Traffic Control back home in Tulsa. Still wanting to pursue an opportunity to serve her community, Ashley took a position as a police officer at Tulsa International Airport, graduating from the Oklahoma Police Academy in 2013. She has been working at the airport since 2013 as an Airfield Operations Officer and has recently been promoted to Airfield Operations Supervisor, Police Sergeant. Tulsa International Airport has provided her the best of both worlds: public service and airplanes. A student pilot, Ashley completed her first solo in a Cessna 172 and is currently learning to fly in a fully aerobatic 180 HP clipped-wing Taylorcraft. Ashley is currently working on completing her bachelor’s degree in aviation management at Oklahoma State University.
Jerry "Jive" Kerby
Jerry "Jive" Kerby is a retired US Air Force fighter pilot having flown the F-15C Eagle and F-4 Phantom during his 23-year active duty military career. He currently flies the T-28 Trojan, T-33 Shooting Star, L-39 Albatross, and Wild Blue, the RV-8A that wants to be a fighter jet, on the North American air show circuit.
Jive performs aerobatics and a special night performance dedicated to our first responders with music, lights and night aerobatic flight.
Red Line Air Shows
Ken was inspired at an early age to pursue aviation after seeing the Blue Angels perform at Cincinnati's Lunken Airport. He is an aerobatic and multi-engine flight instructor and serves as flight-lead for the Redline Team. Ken is a corporate pilot and owns and operates a property management and construction company in Oxford OH.
Jon retired from a 25 year career as an airline captain flying heavy jets in worldwide cargo service to pursue a lifelong passion for building and flying experimental aircraft. Jon is a licensed A&P mechanic and owns and operates Redline, LLC, a company specializing in state of the art avionics installations and experimental aircraft builder assistance.
N3079G - The Original BATCOPTER from the TV Series BATMAN!
N3079G is the authentic Crime Fighting Helicopter that flew and was filmed in The Original 1966 BATMAN Movie and The Original TV Series BATMAN. Today, Captain Eugene A. Nock, A.T.P. has fully restored this nostalgic flying machine back to complete airworthy condition and it appears at Air Shows, Large State Fairs, Special Events and Comic Book Events Around the United States of America!
Children of all Ages(1-99) will have a Thrill of a Life Time!
N3079G: The Original BATCOPTER from the TV Series BATMAN and the 1966 Movie is a HUGE Media attraction, loved by All Ages and has Amazing Audience Appeal!
The airplane is a Pitts S1S. Chef Pitts built it in his garage over a three year period while he was working as a professional Chef. That is why it's called the "Chefpitts". Pitts test flew it in February of 2013. He flew it to Sun n Fun in Lakeland, FL a few months later and was honored to win the "Best Homebuilt Biplane" award! The single place Pitts design has been flying since 1945. Chefpitts incorporates many modifications, including : Precision wings with longer ailerons, larger tail surfaces, integral gap seals, one piece plexiglass floor, many hand formed custom fairings, spring gear, and many more. The engine is a lightweight IO-360 from Barrett Precision Engines. About 200 hp spinning a Prince Carbon Fiber Prop.
The paint scheme is what sets this airplane apart. It is unique to this airplane. I designed the scheme and painted the airplane myself. The bottom surfaces feature a 3 dimensional cube design inspired by the German WW 1 " Lozenge " camouflage....The face on the nose is an homage to Cole Palen, who started "The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome" in NY. The face was on his Fokker Triplane. It was also on the Triplane of German Ace Werner Voss during WW1.
Chef Pitts started out in aviation like many others...Model airplanes. From hand launch gliders, to rubber powered stick and tissue free flight, to control line, to radio control. Hewent to his first airshow at Quonset Point in RI when he was 8. He saw The Red Devils, (later to become the famous Christian Eagles) do a formation snap roll in three Pitts Specials! That was the moment that led him to where he is today. Check out some cool facts about Chef Pitts:
- Got glider license before driver’s license
- Worked his way up from dishwasher to Chef over the next twenty years
- Started flying aerobatics while working in Country Clubs up north and in Florida
- Won the second Pitts Trophy ever awarded with less than 30 hours of Pitts time
- Now working as an aircraft mechanic at Precision Jet in Stuart, FL
- Currently working towards his flight instructor rating
- He is available as a ferry pilot for single engine piston aircraft
Chef Pitts is the builder, pilot, publicist, advertising designer, agent, photographer, web designer, accountant, secretary, and cook for Chefpitts Airshows!
Jacquie traces her love of flying her to her earliest days, when, as a newborn, her first outing was to the Los Angeles County Airport Air Show. Her pilot-father’s interest in airplanes and flying inspired Jacquie to want to ride the wind. Jacquie spent many years dreaming of flying but was unable to do much about it until years later after working and saving her money. By the time she was 32 years old, she decided she had waited long enough. She enrolled in ground school and the rest is history, as they say. She earned her Private Pilot certificate in 1986 and shortly thereafter was introduced to the world of aerobatics. A friend offered her a ride in a Pitts Special and she jumped at the chance to do a different kind of flying. With that first flight of loops, rolls, spins and a few other very scary maneuvers, she was instantly hooked on aerobatics. Once she discovered aerobatics, there was no question in her mind she was destined for aerobatic flying. It took a few years longer to save enough money to take aerobatic lessons, but save she did and took her first “formal” aerobatic lesson in July 1997. She joined the International Aerobatic Club in August 2000 and for the next 4 years she flew aerobatic competition. She raced her biplane at the Reno Air Races from 2001 through 2004 to learn a whole new kind of flying.
Jacquie spends a large part of her time as a role model by way of speaking to schools, speaking to civic groups, private groups, and particularly groups of women and young girls. In March 2013, she organized a week-long program to offer airplane rides to young girls and women of all ages in a concerted effort to introduce them to the joys of flight and all things aviation. Jacquie flew 31 girls/women with the help of a couple other pilots (one woman) during that week and made some life-long friends! Most had never been in a small airplane before. And the first two riders – Mom and her high school aged daughter, both said at the conclusion of their ride that they “needed to buy an airplane”!! Poor Dad didn’t know what to do! But the result is these girls/women got to experience something they always wanted to do and may someday go on to do great things in aviation. “We must give back” says Warda. “Our real job is to educate and share our passion and make sure others learn about and experience what we love so much. We must help others get started down the path achieving their dreams by simply giving a ride in an airplane! It’s a small gesture but makes a HUGE impact on the lives of many”.
Like many of the show pilots, Mike’s passion for aviation started when he was very young. Mike’s Dad took him to his first air show at their hometown in Iowa at the age of 10. That show made an everlasting impression so deep that at 14, Mike rode his bike to the airport for two weeks straight and bugged the owner for a job washing airplanes and cleaning hangars just to be around airplanes. In school, Mike had a teacher tell him he would never be a pilot. His grades weren’t great and he got into trouble. Later that year a tutor gave him the book The Little Engine that Could, by Watty Piper. It changed his attitude and it helped Mike believe in himself. He traded his work of washing airplanes for flying lessons and received his Pilot’s License on his 17th birthday. Thirty eight years later, Mike has accumulated more than 24,000 flight hours and has qualified in more than 40 aircraft. He keeps a very busy schedule flying for Corporate America as well as keeping a full time air show schedule flying the Lucas Oil stunt plane April through November. “It is incredible to be part of the Lucas Oil Team. Their products as well as their integrity make what I do even more rewarding.” It wasn’t easy getting where he is today, and as Mike would attest, he fought battles every day. Things didn’t always turn out the way he planned, but with each year he believes that one of the biggest impacts in his life and the lives around him was his attitude. With everything he has experienced as a Pilot, Businessman, Husband and Father, Mike still admits to making mistakes every day. But he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to pass on the same gift of encouragement and attitude that had been given to him by his Parents, Grandparents, 2nd Grade Tutor and all who believe in him and the dreams he still chases. That is why Mike started the “I Can” program in conjunction with his air show. Mike’s air show career is a testimony of how dreams really can come true. As a 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, and a member of the 2004 U.S. Aerobatic Team, Mike has traveled the World with the same aircraft you will see him performing in at your air show. His excitement for aviation and willingness to share his experience with people around the country is nothing short of contagious in his attempt to help encourage kids of all ages, to not only dream, but to live their dreams and never give up!
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations and, since 1986, by the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.