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Meet a performer from Montana who appeared at the Yellowstone International Air Show



Billings, Montana – With entertainers uniting from near and far to give entertainment before The Blue Angels took flight, the Yellowstone International Air Show was a show in the skies for roughly 30,000 spectators.

A Montanan man was one of those performing acts.

“It’s nerve-racking every time because you just never know what’s going to happen, but it’s pretty fun,” performer Nic Wellenstein said recently.

The brightly colored Jelly Belly plane, piloted by Kent Pietsch, lands on top of the truck as Wellenstein is at the wheel.

“The truck does about 60 miles an hour and I land on the truck. I’ve got about eight inches on each side,” Pietsch said. “I’ve been flying this airplane that I bought from my uncle Lenard in 1973, and I’ve been flying airshows in it since 1974.”

Pietsch, a native of North Dakota, met Wellenstein for the first time in 1978 while skiing in Big Sky.

“I grew up in Baker, Montana, but I’ve been living in Big Sky, Montana for the last 20 years,” Wellenstein said.

They grew close, and Pietsch eventually asked Wellenstein to drive for him. For the past 14 years, Wellenstein has been operating a vehicle for air exhibitions.

He was overjoyed to bring the act to Montana after all those years of touring the country.

“Oh, it’s just great. I mean this is kind of a dream come true. You know, doing a hometown show for all the people around here,” Wellenstein said.

Not only landing on the truck, Pilot Pietsch Wellenstein performed twice during each presentation while also operating a vehicle.

Pietsch began the first performance by interfering with another act.

“(Then) the airplane falls apart in the air… like that aileron will fall off and the tires fall off. And I do that to show that an airplane can fly with major flight control, which that aileron is, and lose it and still fly. People are so worried about airplanes falling apart that, that’s the reason I do that,” Pietsch said.

Pietsch, a veteran pilot with over 55 years of experience, lands the aircraft without key controls. In his second act, he demonstrated how to land a plane without being able to restart it after climbing to 6,000 feet and shutting the engine.

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