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Ontario airshow makes triumphant returnOntario airshow makes triumphant return

The theme was “Power and Pride” in Ontario, Canada, when Airshow London returned to town Sept. 22 to 24, drawing large crowds under bright, sunny skies.

A Royal Canadian Air Force CF18 sits on the tarmac at Airshow London painted in the brilliant red of the maple leaf and Canada 150 logo to honor the celebration of Canada’s birthday. This show was the final Canadian stop for the aircraft and demo team. Photo by Bruce Laing.

The event at London International Airport, taking place during the national Canada 150 Celebration, drew an estimated 32,000 people, who were treated to an array of powerful and pride-eliciting aerial demonstrations by approximately 60 aircraft. The weekend’s flying was unconstrained by the bad weather that hampered the Saturday performance schedule in 2016—the show’s comeback year after a 12-year absence.

Local news media reported that spectators “flocked” to the show for what was described as Canada’s largest display of military aircraft, and the third largest in North America.

“An incredible lineup of aircraft and beautiful clear skies combined to bring spectators to the venue. Unbelievable displays of pride and power brought them to their feet,” said the airshow in a Sept. 25 news release, adding that some 500 volunteers on the ground helped keep everything running smoothly.

“Our team put together a show that made history,” said Executive Director Dave De Kelver. “The most advanced aircraft in the world were on our runways and in the skies all weekend. It was amazing and awesome and people loved it—the performers and crews loved it.”

Spectators had a chance to see Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft including a CC-115 Buffalo search-and-rescue aircraft and a long-range-patrolling four-engine CP-140, as well as U.S. military aircraft including an Air Force KC-135 refueling tanker; a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130H four-engine transport and search-and-rescue aircraft; an Air Force F-16C and F-35A Lightnings, among many others.

The Canadian Skyhawks, Canada’s Armed Forces Parachute Team, which has performed for more than 75 million people worldwide, gave a demonstration under its signature Canadian flag parachutes.

Diamond Aircraft, based at the field, threw a weekend homecoming party for its customers and business associates, opening its aircraft-manufacturing plant to its guests for tours, and presenting a static display of all its aircraft models—with special focus on its new flagship twin, the seven-place DA62, said Diamond Chief Operating Officer Scott McFadzean.

“You couldn’t order better weather for this time of year in Canada,” he said.

Diamond, owner of the airport’s Katana Kafe and Grill, expanded the restaurant’s patio space to host an “Hour of Power” party attended by 200 guests, with company festivities continuing throughout the weekend. Guests had opportunities to meet Diamond’s technical and sales staff, and attend seminars put on by Garmin and Hartzell Propeller, McFadzean said.

The nonprofit Airshow London organization says giving back to the community “is at the top of the list,” and the show provides support to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and veterans’ charities.

In partnership with Fanshawe College, the parties “teamed up to provide students from the Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology and over 30 other Fanshawe curriculums” with practical experience.

“This is where young interests and energy meet real world opportunities and both gain from this collaboration,” the organization says on its website.

  • Photo by Bruce Laing.
  • Photo by Bruce Laing.
  • Photo by DJ Rycroft.
  • Photo by DJ Rycroft.
  • Photo by Greg Hall.
Topics: Airshow, Canada

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