THE ABBOTSFORD AIRSHOW

 

There has been an Airshow at the Abbotsford Airport for over 50 years. It is a three day event starting on a Friday and ending Sunday. This year the Friday showing was an evening event, their first attempt at anything other than a full daylight affair. The weather was perfect for such a display, clear and warm and practically without wind.

The event usually includes demonstrations of formation flying, trick flying and a static display of both modern and historic aircraft. The theme for this year’s display was World War Two memorabilia and included Spitfire, Mustang and a Mosquito Bomber.

The highlights from my perspective were the Canadian forces Snowbirds jets and the Skyhawks Parachute Team. One aerial display was performed by the F-22 Raptor, the most advanced operational fighter in the US Air Force; flying side by side with a P-51 Mustang from WW2 days. A plane that can fly at a speed of 1500 mph alongside one whose top speed is 450 mph.

In addition to the perfect weather, the setting with Mount Baker in the background was quite spectacular.

Mount Baker, at 10,000 feet high, provided the background for this flypast of World War Two aircraft. A Super Spitfire, a Mosquito Bomber and a P-51 Mustang fighter plane. The droning sound of these vintage aircraft brought back the memories of dozens of old World War Two movies, and no doubt to the many who had experienced war time Europe.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds have performed at Airshows for 45 years. In addition to the formation flying showing in the photo’s above and below, they also do precision flypasts virtually too fast and too close together to photograph by an amateur. The show lasts for over 30 minutes and the flyers must be exhausted after so much intricate and dangerous flying. Truly a wonderful demonstration by expert pilots.

The Snowbirds display of precision flying was followed by an equally spectacular performance by the Canadian Forces Parachute Team called the Skyhawks.  The photo’s above demonstrate the degree of accuracy these flyers can accomplish with modern parachutes. All parachutists landed within a very small area on the field after performing intricate maneuvers. And nothing more intricate than that in the photo above right, were three jumpers join together in the air, with the bottom flyer and chute flying upside down while hooked to the jumper immediately above him. Close to unbelievable.

The US Air force sent their newest and most advanced fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor, see above left. This plane can virtually stand still, or fly at 1500 mph, do flat turns and drop backwards from a climb under full control. A fantastic airplane that cannot be matched in combat by any current or projected aircraft. Click the video on the right hand above and watch it fly! Have your sound on!

Gail and I are joined by a Captain with the Snowbirds precision flying group. He was great, explaining the intensity of their training and flying lives.  They are either training or performing 50 weeks of the year.

A B-25 Mitchell Bomber was on display. This airplane was used by many of the Allied Air force’s during WW2, including Canadian, British, Australian and the U:SA.


Above left sits a Catalina Canso Flying Boat. These planes were used extensively by Allied Forces during WW2. My uncle Andrew Bentley flew in them when assigned to the RAF Coastal patrol during the Battle of Britain.

Above right, an Aurora long range Patrol aircraft, used largely for surveillance and submarine reconnaissance by the Canadian Forces. Now used as intelligence gathering platforms they are capable of a range close to 10,000 km.


To the left, a rehabbed aircraft called a B-17 Flying Fortress. This airplane became the staple of the US Air Force as it was used for long distance daylight bombing missions to destroy the infrastructure of the German war machine. It could fly higher and further than other bombers of the time and was considered strong defensively as its missions were further than could be protected by fighter escort. Almost 50% of USA bombs dropped on Germany were by these aircraft.

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