Daring Pilots Soar Above Grayson County - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Daring Pilots Soar Above Grayson County


GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Top pilots took to the skies over Texoma, putting on a daring display at the North Texas Regional Airport.

The U.S. National Aerobatic Championships has been happening in Denison for decades. Each year, pilots from across America fly into Grayson County for the competition.

Today, to wrap up the week, five of them including a glider pilot showed off their skills to the delight of some local fans. The freestyle competition is four minutes where anything goes, and the goal is to impress the judges.

The planes were trailing smoke on purpose, to give people a closer look at its dips and twirls, as they shot through the air.

"The world seems so small, it's quite a perspective to see the world from up above," says pilot Debby Rihn-Harvey, of LaPorte, TX. She flies planes for Southwest Airlines has a flight school, and her hobby is flying.

"This is just the ultimate of making the machine do what you want it to do, you have mastery of that aircraft," Rihn-Harvey says.

"There's a challenge to it, a discipline to it and that's what I really enjoy about it, and my job as an aerobatic pilot is to mitigate the risk and take as much of the danger out as i can, you know fly safely, have my margins," says winner Rob Holland of New Hampshire.

Holland attended an air show with his dad as a boy. Now he's made a career of performing at them. "Everything's practiced, everything's trained, so you practice really up high and then you bring it down once you get comfortable with it," Holland says.

"It's just a little more relaxed, you can get away from the maneuvers that are in the book they look for versatility originality the use of the air space," says Rihn-Harvey.

Spectators watched in amazement, as the planes, and a glider passed by. "It's great to go get up close and personal with the airplanes, and meet the pilots as well, they're really cordial and courteous," says spectator Dean Stewart.

"I just don't imagine what all they're doing I'm sure it's really really busy," says spectator David Mayes.

The event wraps up with the awards dinner at the Library Bar and Grill. Next year's competition will be extra special, as the World Aerobatic Championships come to the airport next October.