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Monday, May 28, 2012

Up in the sky, Snowbirds, CF-18s, Joint Forces, Harvards and more at the Waterloo Air Show

   One-Tank Trip for May 26/12
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Look – up in the sky – it’s the Snowbirds, CF-18s, the Joint Forces, Harvards and more.
   The “top guns” will put on an adrenaline-pumping exhibition of aerobatics and powered flight over the skies of Kitchener-Waterloo on June 2 and 3.
   The Waterloo Air Show had its start four years ago as volunteers created an annual spectacle at the Waterloo Regional International Airport in suburban Breslau after the demise of shows in London and Hamilton.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds flying in palm formation with the Demo Hornet over Vancouver Island will perform at the upcoming Waterloo Air Show. (Photo by Corporal Pierre Habib)

   About 40,000 spectators are expected over the weekend, with fly-ins welcome, at the event that includes an air show, aviation expo, on-ground displays and family activities.

   Snowbirds, CF-18s roar and soar
   The show provides an opportunity to see “all three of Canada’s military teams – the Snowbirds, SkyHawks and CF-18s,” said Diana Spremo, general manager, media and marketing.
   Headliners are the crowd-favourite Canadian Forces Snowbirds returning with nine planes to perform amazing aerobatics.
   The iconic Snowbirds Demonstration Team, 431 Squadron, is made up of serving members of the Canadian Forces who will meet with spectators and sign autographs after they perform.
   They are on tour after six months at home base Moose Jaw, Sask. training and performing some 50 formations and maneuvers for the shows.
Snowbirds over Toronto. (Photo - Canadian Forces)

   There are more thrills with the CF-18 National Demonstration Team from the Royal Canadian Air Force paying tribute to the theme, the True North Strong and Free.
   Capt. Patrick "Paco" Gobeil pilots the Demo Hornet, taking it through rolls, loops and inverted passes as well as the “high-alpha pass.”
   In the high-speed pass, Gobeil keeps the CF-18 restrained to just below the speed of sound with a vapour cone flashing around the tail end and the sky crackling above.

   Joint Forces, Harvards, Pilot Pete
   The show will feature a Joint Forces demonstration by RCAF and Canadian Army combining “interoperability and thundering pyrotechnics.”
   Camouflaged soldiers will arrive in G Wagons and a CH-146 Griffon helicopter while a CF-18 Hornet will maintain air superiority and provide close air support.
   The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, based in Tillsonburg, is sending a four-plane formation team of these Second World War workhorses.
   Performing “an aggressive, action-packed, low-level show” will be Pete McLeod of London in his Zivko Edge 540.
   The aerobatic pilot was the youngest and first Canadian to compete in the elite Air Race World Championship in 2009.
The Canadian Forces parachute team, the SkyHawks, will perform at the Waterloo Air Show.
   Also from London, the Jet Aircraft Museum will fly one of its six T-33 Silver Star jet trainers and have a ground display of other planes. Photos can be taken in the nose section of an actual T-33.
   Vintage Wings of Canada from Gatineau, Que. brings its Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, a carrier-based fighter aircraft from the Second World War.
   For fun, pilot Roger Buis puts on a comedy show with OTTO the Helicopter blowing bubbles, playing with a yo-yo, racing around barrels and picking them up, shooting smoke in all directions and towing banners.
The Jet Aircraft Museum's Lockheed T-33

   Appearing on the Saturday only is the Canadian Forces parachute team, the SkyHawks.
   Wayne Hadath of Kitchener will display his home-built F1 Rocket, a racing aircraft he calls "Little Bit" that can reach speeds of 443 km/h.
   Also performing will be members of the Canadian Air Cadets who are aged12 to 18.

   Tarmac warriors
   Along with the aerial acrobatics, there will be a “static” display of planes on the tarmac with pilots and crew available to comment and invite visitors to climb aboard, in some cases.
   These include the CP-140 Aurora, maritime patrol aircraft; a navigation-training CT-142 Bombardier Dash 8 Gonzo; CT-156 Harvard II turboprop trainer; CT-155 Hawk, an advanced jet trainer; CH-146 Griffon and CH-149 Cormorant helicopters; and the Global News chopper.
   There will also be the turboprop C-90A Beechcraft King Air; CC-144 Bombardier Challenger executive jet; U.S. military T-28C Trojan; the U.S. C-47 Dakota cargo aircraft; and a Lockheed 10A Electra.

The Snowbirds fly in formation over Comox Valley, B.C. (Photo by Master Corporal Robert Bottrill)
   If you go:
   The Waterloo Air Show is at the Waterloo Region International Airport (4881 Fountain St. N.) in Breslau (Kitchener).
   Each day, June 2 and 3, is the same show, with gates open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (one hour earlier for those signing up on the web). The air show is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the Snowbirds closing.
   General admission is $25 ($22 on-line) for ages 11 to 64; $15 ($14), seniors; $10 ($9), children, five to 10; parking, free. VIP tickets are $150 ($85, children), including special seating and parking, food and soft drinks, etc.
   Details: www.waterlooairshow.com; (519) 465-0317


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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