Local aviator Cliff Robinson will be one of the elite pilots soaring above the Ohio River during the annual Thunder Over Louisville on Saturday.

Robinson has created a 12- to 15-minute routine for the air show that will include daring maneuvers such as loops, rolls and hammerheads.

The air shows begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting. The festival kicked off Thursday and will end with a fireworks display Saturday night.

Robinson, 64 and a Madison native, has been an aerobatics pilot for 30 years and has performed many times during the Madison Regatta and at other Midwest events.But the Thunder crowd, which is estimated at 500,000, will be the biggest audience Robinson has seen from the cockpit. It also will be the first time Robinson has flown during the event.

"It should be a good show. It should be enjoyable, if the day is nice," he said.

Robinson, who owns Hoosier Hills Realty, began flying at 17.

He owns four airplanes but will use his 1941 Stearman bi-wing airplane that packs 500-horsepower in Louisville.

Robinson said he expects to see a wide-range of pilots during the show. This year because of the sequester - automatic federal budget cuts - fewer military aircrafts were available.

Either way, he said he's happy to rub elbows with other skilled pilots in what he calls one of most "high-quality shows around."

"Certainly I'm appreciative for the opportunity to fly down there, because it's a nationally recognized show," he said.