It’s been interesting to watch the 2014 Canadian Air Show schedule unfold, and encouraging to see that despite the lack of United States military participation, air shows are healthy and strong in Canada. Military budget cuts here did result in several changes to the Snowbirds schedule, and at one time the formation team wasn’t going to be appearing in the United States at all. However, they will now be performing at four locations in the U.S., and will be visiting 31 locations in total during the 2014 season. Another surprise was the CF-18 Hornet Demo team, which announced performances in Switzerland and Belgium in late August and early September. The team will perform at 20 locations throughout North America and Europe this year. The custom paint scheme on the 2014 Demo Hornet celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
The RCAF CF-18 Demo Hornet, the Snowbirds and the Skyhawks Parachute Team will start their season at the Fort McMurray International Air Show on the weekend of May 31. Combined with civilian acts like “Super Dave” Mathieson, the show promises to be action-packed. The June 7 show planned for 16 Wing CFB Borden was cancelled due to budget cuts.
Father’s Day Weekend (June 14-15) has always belonged to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ont., which has held a full-scale air show for the past three years. Despite running a successful world-acclaimed air show, the event poses a huge financial risk for the museum, so the decision was made this year to hold a series of smaller events on the same weekend. This year will see the return of the Flyfest events held in the past and now re-branded as Skyfest. To add some extra value, the Military Aviation Museum’s deHavilland Mosquito and Commemorative Air Force’s B-24 Liberator will be added to the line-up, along with several other visiting aircraft. The event will see aircraft fly throughout the day, making passes over the museum. Saturday evening will feature a new style of air show not seen in Ontario before. A special night show and dinner event limited to 1,000 people promises to be a very intimate event. Starting near sunset, vintage aircraft will take to the air followed by night air show acts that will feature Manfred Radius, Matt Younkin and Gene Soucey. The show will begin after a catered dinner at show centre. On Sunday evening, a night run has been added. Catered to photographers, the Lancaster and Mosquito will perform ground runs after dark. While these three events are not what people have come to expect from the Hamilton Air Show weekend, they offer a very different and unique experience that comes at a far less financial risk to the museum.
Down the road in Tillsonburg, Ont., the Ontario South Coast International Air Show will host the Snowbirds and CF-18 Demo Hornet on Father’s Day weekend. The following weekend, June 20-22, will see the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association (CHAA) host the Gathering of Harvards and Heroes, also in Tillsonburg. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Harvard in Canada, and since the CHAA operates the largest number of Harvard aircraft in Canada they have taken it upon themselves to gather as many of the aircraft as possible for this one-time event. Attending Harvards are slated to come from as far away as British Columbia. Along with other British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) aircraft, the event will feature veterans who trained and instructed on the Harvard and other BCATP aircraft. The grand finale of the event will be a mass flyover of Harvard aircraft.
The Waterloo Airshow, generally held at the beginning of June, has moved its date to June 28-29. The Snowbirds and the CF-18 will headline the event that is packed full of great performers. Top North American acts such as Mike Wiskus, Kent Pietsch and Indy Boys Jet School Bus will dazzle the crowds. Add in April Zalesky’s AV8FX pyrotechnics for some good explosions of fire and smoke. On the vintage side, the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Formation Team, Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 and Jet Aircraft Museum’s T-33 “Mako Shark” will all fly in the show.
July 12 will see the Snowbirds, CF-18 and Armed Forces Skyhawks parachute team perform at the Yellowknife International Airshow along with Super Dave Mathieson. This one-day airshow will be the northernmost airshow in Canada during 2014. The following day will see the Snowbirds and others fly at the Peace River Regional Airshow in Alberta. On July 19, the Snowbirds and the CF-18 perform at the 4 Wing Cold Lake International Airshow.
Whitecourt Hometown Heroes Airshow flies in Alberta on July 26-27, and will feature a good selection of Canadian Armed Forces and civilian acts. The famed Abbotsford International Airshow in British Columbia will be held on August 8-10. Along with expected acts like the Snowbirds and CF-18, Matt Younkin, Ace Maker T-33 and Team Rocket Aerobatics will dazzle the crowds. The event will also feature a Friday evening twilight airshow with fireworks.
In mid-August the airshow scene shifts to Eastern Canada, and starts with the Eastern Townships Airshow at Bromont, Que. Along with the Armed Forces, top acts like glider aerobatic pilot Manfred Radius, Canada’s only wingwalker, Carol Pilon, and others will take to the skies. The following weekend features the Atlantic Canada International Airshow at Moncton, N.B. This is the largest air show on the East Coast and features many great acts.
The end of August will see three airshows in Southern Ontario. The first is a one-day air show on the 23rd at Tillsonburg Airport called the Ontario South Coast International Air Show. This is followed by the Brantford Charity Air Show, a mid-week event that has become very popular in the area. Held in the late afternoon, the Snowbirds, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum aircraft and civilian aerobatic performers will entertain the crowds. The season comes to an end on Labour Day weekend at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto, one of the largest and most acclaimed air shows in Canada.
The Snowbirds will also be flying several mid-week performances across Canada. A complete schedule can be found on their website.