CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson Soars To New Heights Inside Bethpage Air Show Plane

Anchor Takes The Ride Of Her Life Over New York City

JONES BEACH STATE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Twists, twirls, flips and more – it’s a Memorial Day weekend tradition. It’s the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park.

Thousands of people flock to see the unbelievable stunts the pilots can pull off — some at speeds of up to 200 mph.

Earlier this week, CBS 2 anchor Kristine Johnson got a bird’s eye view at what it’s like to fly in one of the show’s aerobatic aircraft.

It was one wild ride.

From loops and rolls to flying upside down, a ride in a world-class aerobatic aircraft is a trip of a lifetime and maybe just a little nerve-racking.

Before she got in the plane, Johnson met the man who would take her high in the sky and realized she was in good hands.

Veteran pilot Lt. Colonel John Klatt has been flying for nearly 25 years. Deployed in Iraq three times, Klatt commanded an F-16 fighter jet in combat. He’s flown support missions all around the world and captained heavy airliners shuttling passengers safely to their destinations. Now, Klatt controls a powerful air show plane — the Panzl S330 — as it tumbles through the sky, leaving spectators in awe.

As Johnson was taking one of the most amazing tours of New York City, passing Coney Island, the Verrazano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, Klatt explained why he loves performing in the Bethpage Air Show each year.

“My dad was an airline mechanic and he was a jet mechanic in the Air National Guard in the 1950s,” Lt. Colonel Klatt said.

Inspired by stories his father told him, Klatt said he knew as a young child that he wanted to be a pilot. He joined the Air National Guard shortly after graduating high school.

“It really brings me a lot of pleasure when I can inspire another young person,” Lt. Colonel Klatt said.

Today, as one of the top air show performers in the country, Klatt said he hopes his twists and turns at speeds sometimes exceeding 250 mph will inspire others to follow in his flight pattern.

“It does bring me a lot of joy to be able to share the gift of flight,” Klatt said.

It’s joy that was certainly “plane” to see – that is once Johnson’s stomach settled down.

The air show will be held this weekend at Jones Beach State Park — both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it’s free to the public.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Kristine Johnson
  • Terrence Waller

    Kristine I give you so much credit for working on the story. You are my Hero and I agree with Maurice you are a lot braver than myself. I’m no thrill-seeker either, so you are not alone.

  • Janet Novellano

    My husband and I think that you are the best! You are such a lady and dress and comport yourself so well. You are a pleasure to watch and listen to. Keep up the good work. As long as you are one of the anchors, we will be watching.

  • Sibern

    Kristine – what is that junk you’re weaing around your neck lately.
    You’re an attractive woman and this stuff takes away from your
    looks. On 6/20 you wore the same thing for evening and late
    news show. Do you ever change?

  • Mom & Dad

    Kristine, dad & I are sooo proud of YOU – what a feat of accomplishment and you did it with such “grace” – you will always shine in our eyes and hearts – Love you xoxo

  • HB

    Kristine, I always say to my wife look at her isn’t she awesome woman? I respect you and appreciate you.

  • amabtp

    Kristine, you are such a plkeasure to watch, especially after a hard day at work. You have such a nice personality, you just shine on the air. (no pun intended) It took a lot of courage to do what you did, there’s NO way I could have done that. Keep up the good work!

  • Sue

    Kristine you are my favorite New York news personality. I would have lost my lunch if I took that plane ride. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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