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Petite Pilot Is Heavyweight in the Sky

August 22, 1987|ANNE Z. COOKE

When Joann Osterud hops out of the cockpit and stands tall, she just makes it to 5-foot-3. On the scales she's a lightweight, pushing the needle to around 100 pounds. But no one's about to kick sand in this gal's face.

Osterud, 41, a slight, blonde flight engineer for United Airlines and a pilot with more than 6,000 hours at the controls, is an aeronautical heavyweight, the Charles Atlas of stunt flyers.

This weekend, spectators at Oxnard's 11th annual Airshow and Exhibition at the Oxnard Airport will have a chance to watch Osterud celebrate National Aviation Day in her favorite way.

The vertical acceleration, sudden The vertical acceleration, sudden twists and backward flops of her Stephens Akro monoplane look risky but, says show spokesman Ed Burnham, "Joann says she's a chicken and won't do anything unsafe or foolhardy. To her, aerobatics is an exact science."

Doubting Thomases can ask Osterud themselves. After her stunts she'll be on the Tarmac enjoying her second-favorite pastime: answering questions about flying.

Though the most visible, perhaps, Osterud isn't the only attraction scheduled. Half a dozen other top flight pilots equally daring will perform their favorite stunts, sky divers will free-fall in formation, helicopters and gliders will demonstrate their agility and some crazy clowns called the Acme Duck & Airshow Company will barnstorm.

Most important to vintage plane buffs will be the acres of exhibits, including the P-40 (flown by the Flying Tigers); a replica of the Zero, a B-52 bomber; the P-51; a Corsair and a Messerschmitt No. 108 Trainer.

The air show begins with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. today and Sunday, exhibits open at 10 a.m. and show events begin at 1 p.m. both days. A barbecue and hangar party are planned for tonight from 6 to 11 p.m.; $10 tickets can be purchased at the door.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for teens 12 to 18, free for children. Information: (805) 485-8833.

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