This special-edition issue by Skies Magazine highlights what the Covid-19 pandemic has been like for pilots, operations personnel and even passengers with a collection of human interest and first-person stories.
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Held from Sept. 6-8, Aero Gatineau-Ottawa rocked the region with demonstrations by the F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team, the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team and the Snowbirds Demonstration Team. On the quieter side, Viking Air demonstrated its Turbo Beaver and DHC-1 Chipmunk. The Quebec Government provided a Bombardier CL-415 “Superscooper” fire fighting water bomber. Second World War aircraft provided a glimpse back into Canada’ s proud military history and aerobatic performers wowed the crowds with breathtaking manoeuvres. This was the second edition of Aero Gatineau-Ottawa, on Aug. 13 the show hosted a one day event featuring the Royal Air Force Red Arrows as they embarked on a North American Tour.
For many, the sight of Canadian astronaut Col Chris Hadfield, flying the Mike Potter Collection Second World War Spitfire Mk. IX fighter in formation with the CF-18 Hornet Demo, piloted by Capt Brian Kilroy, was a great Canadian moment. Kilroy demonstrated the great performance features of Canada’s CF-18 Hornet in a 20 minute demonstration. He was then joined by Hadfield for a series of heritage flight passes. Hadfield then demonstrated the Spitfire dedicated to Canadian Second World War fighter pilot, F/L Arnold Roseland, who lost his life in a Spitfire during a dog fight over France in 1944.
On the civilian side of flying, extreme aerobatic performers included Rick Volker flying a Sukhoi SU26M and Martin Hivon in a Yak 55.
Veteran air show performer Manfred Radius quieted things down with a high-performance glider routine. Manfred also performed in the Friday evening show lighting up the sky with wingtip flares. The Quebec Government CL-415 water bomber demonstrated a water drop and the great handling characteristics of this purpose built aircraft. Along with Viking Air’s Turbo Beaver and Chipmunk the companies Series 400 Twin Otter was on static display. Go Skydive parachutes, jumping from a vintage C-45 Expeditor, Acer Cold War Museum flying L-29 trainers, the Bushhawks Squadron and Mike Potter’s warbird collection helped keep the action going during each day of the show.
Most came to witness the F-35 Lightning II demonstration flown by Capt Andrew “Dojo” Olson. The F-35 is the latest fifth-generation fighter in the United States Armed Forces. It is also a contender to replace Canada’s CF-18 Hornet fleet of fighters. Over 400 F-35s have been built and now fly with several air forces around the globe. Unfortunately, the F-35 team operated out of Ottawa International Airport so spectators could not see the Lightning II on static display but they did witness the power and agility of the fighter in the air. During Friday’s practice flights, Olson and Maj Aaron Stevens flew with the Canadian Snowbirds team.
Aero Gatineau-Ottawa and Vintage Wings of Canada have slowly grown the airshow into one of Canada’s premier aviation events. Hosting two shows a month apart has clearly demonstrated the ability of their volunteers to provide quality aviation events in Canada’s capitol area.