Page 10 - World Airshow News Autumn 2023
P. 10

Kerry J. Newstead: Guest Commentator

                                    From the Bleachers

                               A     few years ago, the skies were   days later. Their show was like a sandwich – a great opener with
                                                                 the Blue Angels, a closer with the Snowbirds, and lots of good
                                     filled with airshows and then
                                     the  Covid-19  pandemic  hit.
                               Airshows disappeared from the ra-  stuff in between. We saw Gord Price return to perform his last
                                                                 ever show with his Yak-50. There were two heritage flights, the
                               dar faster than you could blink your   USAF Heritage Flight with a P-51 flying alongside Capt. Aimee
                               eyes. They slowly came back, but   “Rebel” Fiedler in the F-16, and the RCAF Heritage Flight with
                               some were drive-in, some were done   the RCAF CF-18 team and Rob “Scratch” Mitchell flying the T-33
                               live over the internet, and a few were   Ace Maker. Many other Canadian acts were on the schedule, in-
                               open to only a limited number of   cluding a SAR demo by 424 Squadron and a Chinook from 450
                               people.                           Squadron. Doing double duty was Ken Rieder flying in this show
                                  By 2022, things were getting more   as well as Wings Over Batavia across the border in New York.
                               back to normal for airshows, and I at-  A week later was Airshow London. The favorite of the week-
                               tended a couple of shows, but it was   end is always the Friday night show, which this year featured a
                               a hard season for me. I lost my air-  rare Snowbird night show. With the low skies, most of the “zoom”
                               show partner and the love of my life,   was cancelled, but Capt. Sam “RaZZ” Larson put on a great show
          my wife Donna Newstead. I also lost three more members of my   below the overcast. During the day shows on Saturday and Sun-
          family.                                                day, there were three air refueling displays – the CF-18 with a
            In Ontario, where I live, there were a couple of airshows earlier   Hercules, Special Ops with their Hercules and an Osprey, and the
          this year, but the main thrust of our 2023 airshow season hap-  KC-135 and C-17 to provide some “heavy” action.
          pened within just twenty-five days in the late summer and early   With the dust just settling at London, the Canadian Harvard
          fall. I decided to check out a few of them.            Aircraft Association (CHAA) held their last open house of the
            In Brantford, the Community Charity Airshow returned on   year, Wings and Wheels. Many beautiful cars came out for the
          August 30 with a small event featuring some local talent, Trev-  show, and the skies were filled with the sounds of Harvards. For
          or Rafferty and Mike Tryggvason. The big attraction at Brant-  one flight, my friend and daughter, Karen Carmicheal took her
          ford was the Canadian Skyhawks parachute team, but they were   first Harvard flight.
          grounded by low weather. A surprise visitor was a RCAF CC-150   I would especially like to dedicate this article to my wife Don-
          Polaris.                                               na, who is watching airshows from the bleachers in the sky.
            The Canadian International Air Show in Toronto was three

              Left: Capt. Sam “RaZZ” Larson didn’t let low ceiling stop him from delivering an awesome flight demonstration in the F-22 Raptor at Airshow London.
              Right: The Blue Angels’ C-130J support aircraft named “Fat Albert” opened the Blues’ performances at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto
              (photos by the author).

                                    10  Autumn 2023
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