After three years, the Qualicum Beach Airshow is back July 11 with more aerobatic performers and unique displays than ever.
“The object is specifically to have a great airshow of course, but also to highlight the importance of the Qualicum Beach Airport,” said Paul Connor, a member of the hosting Parksville Qualicum Aero Club executive.
So they will feature things like an air ambulance, air search and rescue, logging helicopters and Angel Flight B.C.
“I’m a volunteer pilot with Angel Flights which fly patients to radiation and chemotherapy appointments in Vancouver and Victoria,” Connor said, explaining that immune compromised people shouldn’t spend that much time on public ferries and other forms of travel.
They fly people to the main hospitals from all the the remote corners of the province, free of charge and will be featured at this year’s event.
The show will also be packed with simple fun, including a performance by Super Dave Mathieson, who Connor called “an international aerobatic star from the TV show Airshow,” performing in his unique carbon Scheyden MX2 show plane.
“Super Dave was here last time, but he was just getting going and he has since become an international star with the TV show,” Connor said, adding that at the last airshow in 2011 Mathieson did stunts just 100 feet off the runway, which seemed low, but he’s now down within feet. “It looks like he’s skimming along upsidedown.”
“The day will be completely full with jet flybys and activity, it really becomes a major task just managing all the activity,” Connor said.
Phil Symmans will make an appearance in his Pitts special. Tandem skydivers will drop in between other performances from planes piloted by locals Roger Yorke in his Second World War T-28, Ken Fyffe in his Stearman, Jim Hannibal and Dave Rogers in their Glasair Super 2 RG, Ken Heron and Jim Green in a homebuilt RV and Connor, who will also be busy emceeing the event.
Super Dave and Roger York will even take a few lucky spectators for flights in their aerobatic planes.
Things kick off at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers starting at 11 a.m. along with various concessions throughout the day.
An opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will include various dignitaries and skydivers with a couple of large flags. Festivities will run through the day until 4 p.m.
Numerous out-of-town planes will join the action, complete with helicopter rides, displays by the 893 Squadron Air Cadets with a glider on static display and Vancouver Island Virtual Airline on hand with a flight simulator for the kids.
The Parksville District and Qualicum Flyers will put on a 30-minute show with radio control planes and will have impressive models on display all day.
The 442 Rescue Squadron will attend with whatever search and rescue craft are available on the day, possibly including the giant Buffalo plane or Cormorant helicopter.
“We book all these thrilling special planes,” Connor chuckled, “but a lot of people are actually happy just to watch the KD Air and Orca Air flights,” which continue scheduled flights throughout the packed day.
Started as Airport Appreciation Days, the event has run every couple years for decades but took an extra long break this time due to “lack of funds and tired organizers, the same as other organizations,” Connor said.
This year they are returning with the continued support of Quality Foods as the main sponsor. Previous years have attracted more than 4,500 spectators, so come early and bring appropriate gear to spend the day outside enjoying all the sights.
As a non-profit club, any funds go back to the community in the form of scholarships and grants to groups like the air cadets. Admission is $5, children under 12 are free.
The club is always looking for new members and could use more volunteer help.
For more on the show visit
For more on the participants visit www.superdaveairshows.com, www.symmansaero.com and www.skydivevancouverisland.com.