UPS to fly new Boeing 747-8 in Thunder Over Louisville

By Sean Baute | WAVE 3 News

The thunderous sounds in the skies of Louisville on Saturday will be met with a new visitor.

A crew from UPS will fly a Boeing 747-8 above the Ohio River for spectators to see at Thunder Over Louisville.

MORE >> Your online guide to Thunder Over Louisville

Coming in at just shy of a million pounds, flying the Boeing 747-8 is like flying a football field.

“If you put the tail end of the plane on the end-zone of a football field, the nose of the airplane would be on the other 15-yard-line,” Pilot Mike Cahalan said.

Practicing in a flight simulator Thursday, UPS team members go their first attempt at the flight plan.

UPS flight simulator
The pilots who will fly during Thunder practiced the route in this simulator.

The crew consists of members from Puerto Rico, South Africa and Iowa.

UPS said the crew embodies their international initiative.

“It has been something amazing,” crew member Hector Gelabert said, “just to meet people from all over the world, from China, India, Dubai.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to represent [UPS],” Ivan Leibbrandt said. “And also to be able to be given the chance to fly in the air show in our hometown.”

I got behind the control wheel myself Thursday – and let’s just say it’s a good thing the plane will be in different hands for Thunder.


Thunder Over Louisville has become a big part of Louisville, just as UPS has.

“All pilots love to show off their airplane,” Cahalan added. “And we have no better venue than to fly it in Thunder over Louisville in front of our hometown crowd.”

The plane will make two passes on Saturday. The first will be slower with landing gear out and flaps up. For the second one – you’ll get to see just how fast the plane can go.

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