(Update: Adding video, comments from Mike Kloch)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Mike "Cuckoo" Kloch is a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot who is co-owner and CEO of Specialized Aero Works, located at the Bend Airport.
SAW provides specialty flight training in areas such as Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT), aerobatics, tailwheel and more. Kloch says it will soon be one of only a few flight schools in the country with FAA Part 141-approved UPRT and spin training.
"Central Oregon probably has the best year-round flying weather in the Pacific Northwest," Kloch said Friday, "So if we don't have really high winds or cloudy days, which is much less than on the other side of the mountains, that gives us an opportunity for a lot of flyable days throughout the year."
For 10 years, Kloch was a Marine fighter pilot, learning aerobatics and other flying skills while serving. Now, he's using that experience in his own business.
"It's all about teaching Upset Prevention Recovery Training aerobatics, plus we'll do tail instruction. So a variety of things that are specialized that take more of an advanced instructor. It's life-saving training that's very valuable."
Along with the teaching, Kloch takes people on aerobatic "adventure flights" for non-pilots, performing feats of flying normally only seen at air shows.
"Most airplanes are flying more at level altitudes," he said, "whereas in aerobatics, you're doing things somewhat like you see at air shows, but you're doing it at a safe altitude, in a safe area."
Mike was nice enough to take me in the air this morning to show me aerobatics. It's safe to say, I did not know what to expect.
Stunning aerial views of Central Oregon, like Pilot Butte and the Deschutes River, are aplenty during a flight. If you have the stomach for it, half the time during your flight, Mike will perform aerobatics, while you hold on for the ride.
"Our typical rides, we have 20 minutes of aerobatics, which is about a 40-45 minute flight total. And then, we have a 45 minute aerobatic ride, which ends up being about an hour flight.
The experience of aerobatics comes with a price -- A 20 minute aerobatic flight costs $375. A 40 minute aerobatic flight is $495.