Airshow of the Cascades inspires Ben Rose to become talented aerobatics performer.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Ben Rose performed in his Pitts S-1S at the recent Airshow of the Cascades. Rose, 21, who earned his private pilot's license at age 16, was inspired to become an aerobatics pilot by visits to the Airshow of the Cascades as a child. In only his second year of performing in air shows, Ben Rose is already making his mark. Rose, 21, gave one of the most impressive performances at this year's Airshow of the Cascades Aug. 23-24.

Rose, who grew up in Portland, has a special connection with the Airshow of he Cascades. Visits to the air show when he was younger sparked his interest in becoming an aerobatic performer.

"(The air show is) really very special because it's somewhat local to me," he said. "I came over when I was a kid. I thought it was amazing watching the aerobatics; it's kind of what made me want to do that."

A fourth-generation pilot, Rose explained that his biggest role model was his father, a pilot for Delta Airlines. "He first took me flying when I was a month old," said Rose, noting that his parents and younger brother and sister camped out at the air show, so his dad could help him with his preparations and his family could watch the performances.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Ben Rose heads straight up in his Pitts S-1S during his performance at the Airshow of the Cascades. The 21-year-old, who also performed during last year's air show, said that the local air show is 'really special to me,' because it inspired his interest in aerobatic performances."It's cool to be able to come back and do that (aerobatic performances) in front of family and friends," said Rose, who also performed at the Madras air show last year.

Although he has been flying since he was 14, Rose earned his private pilot's license when he turned 16. He is in his fifth year of aerobatic flying.

This fall, Rose will return to Oregon State University, where he will begin his senior year studying business administration. Throughout his college career, he has been in the U.S. Air Force ROTC.

"I will be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force in March," he said, noting that he will be sent somewhere to pilot training that month. "I will end up with the 194th Fighter Squadron in Fresno, and I will be able to continue flying air shows."

Rose, who remains on track to graduate with a business degree, has already begun his own business — flying aircraft. "I have a business that delivers new airplanes. Last week, I did a trip from New York to California. That business experience helps me run that."

One of the youngest aerobatic pilots in the country, Rose, who has experience with more than 30 types of aircraft, performs in the Western U.S. during the summers.

This year, he plans to participate in the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships in September, in Salina, Kansas.

Even as he becomes more popular and sought after, Rose intends to continue to return to the Airshow of the Cascades.

"You can expect to see me back here in years to come," he said. "I'll always want to come back here; the crowd is always super excited and engaged."

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