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When he was young, Louisville-native Russ Lemay never imagined he’d be jumping out of airplanes for a living. But Lemay has now helped rescue hundreds of people as a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard, and will showcase his talent in Thunder Over Louisville Saturday.

Thunder Over Louisville Air Show PrepKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Thunder Over Louisville Air Show Prep

Nearly three dozen aircraft will fly over the city during Thunder Over Louisville’s air show. Lemay said he has looked forward to the event because it offers a unique experience to parachuting.

“It’s nothing that we’re typically used to with what we do our jumping for our job as,” Lemay said “You can start to hear the crowd, which is really cool, on Thunder. It’s something we don’t get to experience on our military jumps. I’d take some time to soak it in. You can look around and see all the way across the city and look at the crowds and buildings. It’s a pretty neat experience.”

Hundreds of thousands attend Thunder, which, according to the Kentucky Derby Festival foundation, generates more than $56 million for the local economy. Lieutenant Steven Lozano will pilot his F-15 jet over the area, possibly speeding past at more than 400 mph.

Lieutenant Steven LozanoKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Lieutenant Steven Lozano

Lozano flew aircraft for Thunder two years ago, and said he’s excited for the event.

“This is one of the only shows that happens in a downtown setting like this with people on both sides,” Lozano said. “It’s as impressive for us flying just right past the skyline and seeing all those buildings zoom by and seeing all those people as it is for y’all to see us.”

The air show starts Saturday at 3 p.m. If the weather’s nice, Lozano and Lemay could appear from above for Thunder Over Louisville.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.