Chilliwack Airshow lights up the sky this weekend

The popular airshow, which features some of the finest aerobatic pilots in the business, kicks off Saturday night.

One of the most iconic bombers of the Second World War

One of the most iconic bombers of the Second World War

Keep up the hype from the Abbotsford Airshow, but without the entry fee. This Saturday and Sunday, the Chilliwack Airshow is back on for its 24th year.

As one of the few remaining free-admission airshows, the event “always gets a great turnout” says Garry Atkins, a director with the Chilliwack Airshow Committee and manager of the Chilliwack Airport. Typically, the show draws “a crowd of about 10,000.”

Pyrotechnic, aerobatic performances will light up the Saturday night sky. Team Rocket (Ken Fowler and Eric Hanson) and “Super Dave” Mathieson, will show off their precision and speed, lit-up by fireworks mounted under the wings. Live video from the cockpit will stream on the large viewing screen.

Fowler helped train Super Dave in the challenging art, “pyro is not just something you can jump into” he says. “Last year, we got him up to speed on the training side of it,” Fowler explains, “but his airplane wasn’t quite ready, so he borrowed mine for the show.”

This year, Super Dave will perform pyrotechnics in his own plane.

Also in the show are newcomers to Chilliwack, like Alberta brothers David and Drew Watson (known as Yellow Thunder) and returning performers, including Bud and Ross Granley and more.

“Most people like the noise, especially in the finale” said Atkins. “And we’ve confirmed that we’re going to have the CF-18 Hornet this year.” The fighter aircraft, which is too fast to land at our airport, will be kept just under sub-sonic levels as it does some fly-bys on Sunday afternoon, “to keep our windows intact.”

The Chilliwack Airshow was also able to acquire a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, a large, four-engine Second World War bomber. The aircraft, brought in from the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, Oregon, is one of the few remaining airworthy B-17s in the world, and the only “Pathfinder” model (equipped with H2X radar) left in existence.

The B-17 will be accompanied by another “warbird,” the P-51 Mustang, which was unable to make it here last year due to weather. This 1945 aircraft was used by the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American squadron of pilots in the Second World War.

Amateur photographers are invited to take part in the photo contest, where the best photo of the rare warbirds will win its photographer a ride in Super Dave’s MX2. The entry fee is $100 and shooting will begin Friday evening. RSVP by Aug. 13 to reserve your spot in the contest.

The fun-filled Hanger Dance is back again this year. A $40 entry fee covers your barbecue dinner (catered by Garrison Bistro) and live entertainment by The Vacationers and Trevor McDonald.

All proceeds from the Hanger Dance go toward funding the airshow, along with the publics’ donations.

“I’ve performed all over the world, but the Chilliwack Airshow is the most community-oriented airshow that I’ve ever performed at” said Fowler.

“We are very fortunate and happy to have so many generous supporters,” Atkins explains in reference to the Chilliwack Flight Fest Society volunteers and sponsors, “without those individuals and businesses in the community, there wouldn’t be a show.”

Visit chilliwackairshow.ca for a full list and description of this year’s performances.

 

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