Monday, August 31, 2009

Windsor International Air Show Aug 28, 29 & 30

Location: Windsor Airport, Ontario
Admission: FREE for Veterans, $20 for adults, $12 for youth 6-18
Parking: $5 to $20 for the day depending on location.
Value: Very good

There were lots of thundering noise, and lighting quick action in the sky above Windsor over the weekend of August 29-30 courtesy of the Windsor International Air Show. It was a blast to see Capt. Tim ‘Donor’ Woods in the CF-18 rocketing into the sky. The crowd watched the combined precision flying of Capt. Woods as he took the CF18, rolling only a few hundred feet above the tarmac, accompanied by the Hawk One F-86 Sabre and the CT-144 Centennial Tutor in formation. The spectacular flight, celebrating The 100 Years of Flight in Canada. The Canadian Forces had a great presence over the sky at the Windsor air show with the Skyhawks Parachute Team and with the famous Snowbirds.

The Windsor air show has been dormant for several years, and has been started up once again in 2009. The Windsor International Air Show is not to be confused with the Red Bull air races, held too, at Windsor annually. However, Michael Goulian, one of the performing pilots from the Red Bull series of events, who just come back from winning the Red Bull air race at Budapest, did participate in the air show.

The Windsor International air show was a great place to spend some time, to see, and learn about different aircrafts, and it was also a place to honour Canada’s War Veterans.
The directing team of the air show, and their volunteers has to be congratulated for organizing a very good air show, giving their welcome and hospitality to the Kids Kick Cancer on Friday, and recognizing the Veterans throughout the weekend! There were a good selection of static aircraft from the US, representing the USAF and Navy. Such as a rather unique ex Hurricane hunter C-130 Hercules, a KC-135R Tanker, a rarely seen C-2 Greyhound, and (4) four F-15C Strike Eagles, (too bad they did not perform!!). There were the usual no-shows due to maintenance issues or other related difficulties, but even without them, there were about 40-45 aircraft on the tarmac, including the WWII B-25 Mitchell, and a P-51D Mustang. In addition to the static aircraft, one could look at some antique cars, and some WWII vintage armor displayed near the Veterans area. There was also a WWII Avro Lancaster bomber, undergoing restoration on display by the hangar of the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, along with the de Havilland D.H.98 Mosquito, wooden superstructure. For real historical aircraft buffs, these were planes to see.

The weather, unfortunately, was not cooperating much during the event. On Friday it rained heavily, and the Snowbirds had to cancel their practice due to this. Saturday started off with dark overcast clouds early in the morning, but cleared rather quickly, giving plenty of sunshine. The clouds returned however, and they provided a dramatic and very photogenic background to photograph the aircraft performing in the show. Sunday, it was very dark, chilly and very windy in the morning. Toward noon it started to clear, and the remaining clouds were not as dark, but it was still unseasonably cold, and windy. To photograph the aircraft with a larger lens was a challenge due to the wind shear on the lens. The layout of the show was well laid out, with plenty of flight line view available for the attendees and aspiring photographers. There were adequate food concessions (some from catering trucks) and the sanitation facilities were well spread out.

The performances ranged from very good to excellent. On Sunday the Snowbirds had to switch #3 to #10 just as they were about to take off, which delayed their performance, and cancelled their fly-by with the Hawk One. Despite the delay, their performance dazzled the crowds.

I would like to thank the following people who made me feel welcome and their hospitality was much appreciated: Keith Baxter – Director of Operation, Theresa Baxter – “Chief of Everything,” Bill Reilly – Media Operations, Brad Saunders – Ground Boss, Mike Beale of the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, Lt. Errol McKenzie, Airport Security and his team. In addition, I wish to thank Capt. Tim Woods and his CF-18 Demo crew, and Capt. Cregg Wiebe, Snowbirds pilot who flew the Golden Centennaires Centennial CT-144 Tutor for their gracious cooperation.

The list of some of some of the performers and static warbirds at the show:

-Skyhawks Parachute Team Jump of the Canadian Army
-Golden Centennaires Centennial CT-144 Tutor
-F-86 Hawk One Sabre
-B-25 Mitchell bomber
-P-51D Mustang
-(4) US Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle
-US Air Force KC-135R Stratotanker
-US Air Force Hercules C-130H Hurricane Hunter
-US Navy C-2 Greyhound
-MH-53E Sea Dragon from the US the Airbome Countermeasures Weapons Systems Training School

Over all, the Windsor International Air Show was a very good show. While it was not the biggest air show this year in Canada, it was so far, one of the best, earning them a well deserved 8.75 out 10!

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