Woodward, Okla. —
FAIRVIEW - The world's smallest jet will be making an appearance at Fairview's 61st Annual Free Fly-In and Air Show on Nov. 10.
The Lewis and Clark Performance FLS Microjet will be flown by Navy Pilot Justin "Shmed" Lewis, a native Texan, who has been flying since the age of 14.
By the age of 17, Lewis acquired his pilot's license and by 23, he possessed a bachelor's of science degree in aeronautical studies, a multi-engine commercial pilot certificate, as well as a flight instructor certificate.
Lewis was a flight instructor for several years before entering Navy Officer Candidate School where, upon graduation, he was recognized as the top graduating tactical jet aviator in 2001.
"In 2004, I moved to Oklahoma City to work at Tinker AFB while flying in the Navy," said Lewis. "At the time, I owned another kit aircraft called a Glasair that I flew to many different events including the Fairview Fly-In."
However, in the past Lewis has only been an attendee at the Fairview Fly-In, which is billed as the "World's Oldest Free Fly-In."
"This time will be my first experience at Fairview as a performer," the pilot said of the upcoming show.
DOES IT FOR THE KIDS
When asked what drew him back to the event, Lewis answered "I like performing as much as possible in the Oklahoma City region because I want Oklahomans to have pride in what we're able to accomplish."
In addition, as someone who fell in love with flying at a young age himself, Lewis said he enjoys sharing his love of aviation with children.
"My jet is very unique and I want it to inspire kids to get involved with aviation," he said. "It's very important to me that future generations have an opportunity to love aviation as much as I do and I think it's important to Oklahoma since aviation is the second largest industry in our state."
FLYING MICROJET BOTH FUN AND FUNCTIONAL
Lewis has flown everything from fighter jets like the F-14D Tomcat, to huge airborne command posts like the Boeing E-6B Mercury, to training jets like the T-45 Goshawks, but according to him nothing feels quite like flying the microjet.
"It's difficult to describe the smile on my face when I fly the FLS Microjet," he said. "When I go flying, its like I'm strapping myself on the end of a tiny rocket and unlike anything else I've ever flown, I truly feel like it's an extension of my body. I feel like I have wings and an whole lot of power. It's an amazing feeling."
But for Lewis flying the microjet isn't just about the enjoyment of the experience. He is also helping to improve the plane.
"The first microjet originally designed around the early 1970s was called the BD-5J," Lewis said. "It was a public sensation, people said to themselves ' Wow, this thing's high performance, easy to build, and easy to fly.' It was also made famous by its appearance in the James Bond film 'Octopussy.' The problem was it wasn't any of the things it was supposed to be. It was actually hard to build from the kit, expensive because of the time and difficulty of the construction, and a little tricky to fly."
Since its release in 1970 however, the microjet has been drastically upgraded. Using current building techniques, Lewis said the jet's design features have greatly improved, increasing the its reliability and decreasing the pilot's workload.
"I teamed up with BD-Micro Technologies Inc in Oregon, they've essentially become the expert in BD-5J's and provided support to anyone who wanted to build one from a kit," he said.
In return, Lewis said he is helping to improve the plane by providing feedback to the company on how it feels to fly their FLS Microjet.
"Through the years I've worked with them flying the jet and providing pilot input, the engineers took my advice into consideration, and now we're just starting to get the FLS Microjet on the flight circuit," he said.
BIPLANES ALSO TO PERFORM IN AIR SHOW
If you would like to see the microjet in action, Lewis is scheduled to perform sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 as part of the air show of the 61st Fairview Fly-In.
Other pilots scheduled to perform this year include Curt Richmond, flying his Pitts S2B, and Chet Kuhn, who will fly a Pitts S1. Both planes are light aerobatic biplanes.
In addition to the acrobatic air show, other events at the fly-in will include a ceremony to honor veterans at 10:45 a.m. and possible demonstrations by 2 radio-controlled flying clubs, weather permitting. Of course there will also be several other planes flown-in by pilots across the region, which will be on display throughout the day for visitors to see up close.
All events will be held at the Davey and Bessie Martens Fairview Regional Airport, which is located on the east side of U.S. Highway 60 on the north edge of Fairview.