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Pilot has logged 20,000 hours in cockpit over nearly five decades

Jim Peitz will be among the acts dazzling those who come to the Sound of Speed Air Show at Rosecrans Memorial Airport this weekend.

Posted: Apr 29, 2021 11:44 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2021 9:48 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Up in the air is where you will usually find pilot Jim Peitz. The aviator has put in 20,000 hours in the cockpit over nearly five decades.

For the past 30 years or so, Peitz has been performing at air shows around the country, doing barrel rolls, loop de loops and other aerial tricks.

"The reason I keep doing this is to entertain and inform people and to share it," Peitz said. To me, the freedom of flight is one of the biggest freedoms we have and I like to share it."

The pandemic was a challenge for Peitz as it was to almost everyone. The Sound of Speed Airshow this weekend in St. Joseph will be only his second in more than a year. That's meant he's needed to shake the rust off to get back into show form.

"I did extensive practice this year, double of what I typically would just to get the timing and the muscle memory and rhythm back," Peitz said.

Flying is Peitz's passion as much as it is his job.

"To me, it's calming, it's exciting. I'll fly all day with work and then pull out a Cub and go fly to relax."

Whether it's for relaxing or for work, Peitz puts in thousands of miles in the air every year. Over the next several months he'll criss-cross the country many times.

"We can fill this thing with gas and go any direction anywhere we want anytime we want. People laugh, a mile of highway will get you a mile. A mile of runway will get you anywhere in the world."

Peitz is one of nearly a dozen different acts being featured at the airshow, which includes performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

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