UPS pilots prepare Thunder Over Louisville air show flight

The big cargo jet will be flying low and fast during the Thunder air show.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 12:41 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:47 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thunder Over Louisville is in its 34th year and for 33 years of that, UPS has been a part of the air show. WAVE News got a look at the special plane that will be a part of the show and the pilots who will be in it.

To get Thunder Over Louisville going, it takes a lot of planning, communication, and an experienced team. That’s because you only have one shot to get it right.

Captains Todd Reifert, Scott Mundy, and Todd Malone are UPS pilots and they have a combined 93 years of flying under their wings. They’ve traveled around the world, but the one thing they can finally cross off their bucket list is to fly in the Thunder Over Louisville air show.

I feel a real privilege to do this,” Mundy said.

“We are representing as a primary sponsor hundreds of thousands employees,” said Malone.

The UPS A300 Airbus will be in the air show and it’s quite the plane with 147 foot wingspan that normally transports your packages.

“It’s a twin engine plane with max take off weight around 360,000 pounds,” Reifert said.

However, before the pilots fly over the Ohio River, they have to practice in an A300 flight simulator.

“This display is Google Earth,” Mundy said.

The simulator cockpit is just like the real thing. What they see out the window, is the layout of the land they’ll be flying over on Thunder Day. But the way they fly the A300 will be different.

“It’s not made to fly close to the ground and fast,” Malone said. “We really like being able to do that as we were talking about in the sim, it’s FUN!”

On Thunder Day, the plane will be flying 500 feet above the ground over spectators going more than 300 miles per hour.

This will be the first time UPS has used an A300 in the show. The model was chosen to celebrate the aircraft getting a new cockpit installed.