KREMMLING - At the Kremmling Airport in Grand County, elevation 7,364, pilot Gary Rower and Buck Roetman are two professional air show pilots with a lot of time in the air. Rower has 21,000 hours of flight time; Roetman has 15,000, and they'll need every minute of that experience to do something only a few pilots can.
"There are probably 300 professional air show pilots in North America. There are probably two dozen that would come up here and do shows," Rower said.
They will join a few other pilots for some high elevation air show flying this weekend in Eagle and Summit counties. They will be executing stunts and maneuvers in places most pilots have trouble just flying.
"We back off on the G's. We add a few hundred feet to our maneuvers," Roetman said.
At high elevation engines have to work much harder getting much less horse power the higher up you go.
"This airplane that has 450 horsepower at sea level, really only has about 280 horsepower up here," Rower explained.
Then mix in mountain winds with updrafts and downdrafts and flying can be tough, but it's something these pilots have done before when the put on a air show over Dillon Reservoir last summer, earning a world record in the process - sort of.
"That was the unofficial world record for the world's highest air show. We filed it, and actually the folks from Genies Book of World Records said they wouldn't give us the world record, because they didn't think anyone would ever try to break it," Rower said.
Now they're at it again, drawing crowds around Kremmling as they work on their routine, which includes fling upside down and cutting a ribbon 20 feet from the ground.
"We will do an inverted ribbon cutting. We will string some caution ribbon about 18-20 feet off the runway, and I'll turn it upside down and fly through it," Roetman said.
That Air Show will start at the Eagle County Airport at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, and there will be more than 40 aircraft on display. Sunday, several pilots will head to Summit County and fly over the Dillon Reservoir at about 11:30 a.m.
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