Three years in the making, the return of the Qualicum Beach Airshow is just two weeks away.
Organized by the Parksville Qualicum Aero Club, Saturday, July 11 will be packed with aerial acrobatics, skydiving, thrilling fly-bys, unique planes on display and fun activity for the whole family on the ground.
Club member Paul Connor said, along with a fun airshow, the goal “is to highlight the importance of the Qualicum Beach Airport,” so the day will feature things like an air ambulance, air search and rescue, logging helicopters and Angel Flight B.C.
Angel Flight, which Connor is a member of, was just honoured by Lt. Governor Judith Guichon with a lunch at Government House in Victoria, recognizing the work volunteers do flying patients to radiation and chemotherapy appointments in Vancouver and Victoria.
Along with the serious elements, the day of fun kicks off with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers starting at
11 a.m., along with concessions throughout the day.
An opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will include dignitaries and an appearance by skydivers with flags, kicking things up a notch and running to about 4 p.m.
One of the big attractions will be an aerial 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.
“The day will be completely full with jet flybys and activity,” said Connor. “It really becomes a major task just managing all the activity.”
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.
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 along with 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.
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.
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.
Admission is $8, children under 12 are free. Organizers say all funds go back to the community in scholarships and grants to groups like the air cadets.
For more on the show visit www.pqac.ca. For more on the participants visit www.superdaveairshows.com, www.symmansaero.com and www.skydivevancouverisland.com.