Pilot’s self-launching jet act will make you dizzy
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 3, 2012 4:28PM
Bob Carlton and his Super Salto are one of the scheduled featured performers at the Gary South Shore Air Show July 6-8, 2012. | Photo by Allen Ball
For more on Bob Carlton, check out his website, www.vertigoairshows.com.
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:18AM
Bob Carlton is a former rocket scientist who has taken to the sky in a different way.
Carlton, making his first appearance in the Gary South Shore Air Show, will pilot the Super Salto, a self-launching jet sailplane that he has modified, to say the least.
“The aircraft I’m flying is very unique. It’s a glider but it has a jet engine, and it’s the only one like it in the world.” said Carlton, who is based in Albuquerque, N.M. With the engine, he can bring the glider to 175 mph. “It allows me to mix two things that you normally wouldn’t think would go together.”
Those two things are the silent, graceful movements of a glider, which Carlton, owner of Vertigo Airshows, describes as “aerial ballet,” and high-speed, jet-level, low-flying aerobatics.
The Saturday and Sunday performances during the Air Show will allow Carlton to showcase the glider’s full range. While Carlton won’t be able to do low-level flying during Friday’s Twilight Show, viewers will get an added bonus in the night sky — pyrotechnics.
“The way the pyrotechnics display works when I do rolls and things creates a very surreal experience,” Carlton said, likening the performance to a kid moving a sparkler through the air. “It’s kind of like that, only it’s a mile long and 1,000 feet tall.”
Carlton has been flying gliders since he was 19 and performed in his first air show in 1993. Since Carlton comes from the Southwest, the air show over Lake Michigan will provide another kind of experience.
“This will be an over-water show, and I come from the desert Southwest,” he said. “It’s not a new thing, but it’s fun to do an over-water show.”