MILWAUKEE — McKinley Park is the best place to watch the Air and Water Show Saturday. There's no doubt you heard the roar of the engines yesterday if you live anywhere near downtown Milwaukee. I got a chance to talk with some of the pilots on the tarmac at the 128th Air Refueling Wing.
"The teamwork that goes into it is pretty special to watch. It's like a wild roller coaster that you get to control."
At the controls is Lieutenant Commander Cary Rickoff. He and the rest of the Navy Blue Angles Team fly their FA18 Super Hornets up and down the shores of Lake Michigan Thursday afternoon, practicing for this weekend's air and water show.
"It's incredible what these planes can accomplish. The pilots are topnotch and they really do push the limits of what these things do. And it's just absolutely incredible to see it never gets old," said Staff Sgt. Patrick Angles.
Staff Sergeant Angles of the U.S. Marines rides in this C-130 known as "Fat Albert", the logistics aircraft for the Blue Angels that carries all the maintenance supplies and personnel for the fighter jets.
The Blue Angels team is back in Milwaukee for the first time since 2017. The air show's headlining act will perform in front of hundreds of thousands of people this weekend, wowing audiences and hoping to inspire future pilots.
I asked, do you think while you're up there in the air and you are doing what you are doing, you might inspire a young kid on the ground to maybe be a pilot one day?
"Absolutely that's the goal. I was one of those young kids watching them on the Pensacola beach shores or watching them flying over Pensacola and had no idea about the Navy or any dream of being a Navy pilot," said Rickoff.
The Blue Angels aren't the only fighter jets you'll see at the show.
"You're going to see at the airshow some backflips a lot of really cool stuff that airplanes shouldn't be able to do," said Major Joshua Gunderson.
We didn't see any of that, but on our way to our interview, I caught the Air Force's F-22 Raptor demo team checking out the airspace over downtown Milwaukee.
"We got to do a little of site survey over the airshow airspace and a lot of buildings and towers. It's a cool landscape obviously having the lake there as well. It's a unique landscape downtown. A lot of times we do airshows over airports," said Gunderson, an F22 demonstration team commander.
In case you are wondering, all the pilots we talked to said they saw the new Top Gun movie and while it might not be the most realistic, they said they hope it inspires more young people to become aviators.
To see the full schedule of events and performers, click here.