Hillsboro Air Show’s aerobatics awe and inspire

The event has raised over $1.5 million for charities since it started in 1988

Fans watch a plane fly through the air during the Hillsboro air show on Sept. 24, 2017 (KOIN)
Fans watch a plane fly through the air during the Hillsboro air show on Sept. 24, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The magic of flight was on display in Hillsboro Sunday for the annual Oregon International Air Show, bringing plane lovers and aerobatic junkies from all over to the Portland-metro area.

Michael Wiskus, a pilot representing Lucas Oil, lives in Minneapolis. He’s been flying for 20 years and Sunday was his fifth trip to Hillsboro.

Michael Wiskus has been flying in air shows for 20 years. He said he loves the Hillsboro airshows (KOIN)
Michael Wiskus has been flying in air shows for 20 years. He said he loves the Hillsboro airshows (KOIN)

“Half the fun is just getting here and flying by the volcanoes and the mountains and through the area,” Wiskus said. “And of course coming up through the Columbia river: how beautiful is that? This is one of the top shows in the nation.”

Wiskus said his favorite part about flying and participating in air shows is traveling the country, sharing his passion and meeting new people. But when it comes time to fly, “it’s all business … this is a little risky business that I’m in to,” he said.

But WIskus’ risky business is something he loves to do. The people in attendance enjoy it, as well, watching a man slice through the air and dance with the confines of gravity.

The event is also community centered. Using more than 1,000 volunteers, the event has raised more than a $1.5 million for charities since it started in 1988. The spectacle has also provided inspiration, as well.

Lt. Shaun Roessner used to attend air shows as a kid. It grabbed a hold of his passion, sparking him to pursue a career in naval aviation. Sunday, after two years of flying in air shows, was Roessner’s last air show. He will head back to the Navy and rejoin his fleet as someone else replaces him in the rotation.

Roessner says anytime he straps on a helmet and takes the reigns of his F-18 that there’s an inevitable rush. But the biggest rush, he said, his seeing a kids flabbergasted face after being awe-struck from the air show.

“Hands down that’s the biggest rush,” he said.