Friday, 26 August 2016


It was hot and sunny in Abbotsford this year, perfect weather for an  Airshow. With Mount Baker gleaming in the background the stage was set for an aircraft fans perfect day. 

Fitting this years theme of "Heroes of the Skies" the flying display included an all star flight with an A1 Skyraider, a P51 Mustang, an F8F Bearcat and, best of all, a Mark IV Spitfire

It's always a pleasure to see and hear these vintage war birds in action. Watching the flying bomb truck that is the Skyraider you couldn't help but wonder if the USAF couldn't solve some of its close air support problems by putting those grand old attack aircraft back in production. (I know it sounds silly, but if they are seriously thinking about putting the F-22 back in production, then anything is possible)

Speaking of Air Superiority, it was thrilling to see  the above P-51 Mustang along with a Mk.IV Spitfire,

and an F-8F Bearcat in the line-up.

Also along was the Heritage Flight Museums Mitusbishi A6M Zero clone. 

In keeping with that same theme, the show was also highlighting the accomplishments of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada. Which meant lot of bright yellow trainers.

Although flying with US Navy colours, this Boeing PT-17, seen above, was representative of Canadian wartime trainers.

A pair of vintage T-6 Harvard trainer were joined by their modern equivalent, all in traditional yellow.

The modern T-6 was painted in the traditional colours. In the distant past it was believed that this was the best shade for visibility. 

Now, it appears, black is favoured for avoiding air-to-air encounters of the expensive kind.

Not, of course, that the choice of colour has anything to do with the 'cool' factor.  Not that it hurts, as this CT-155 Hawk testifies.

As any trainer aircraft, such as this CH-146 Griffon and CH-139 Jet Ranger, can tell you, black is the new yellow.

Colours can matter. Needless to say "Air superiority gray" is ' de rigueur' for any self respecting fast jet.

Which explains this F/A-18,

although how this A-10 qualifies as a "fast jet" is not so clear.

but at least it makes more sense then this SH-60, Seahawk on detachment from the USS Nimitz.

You can't help but think that, as good as our long promised CH-148 Cyclones are suppose to be, how long could we have been flying aircraft like this off our frigates, if only our procurement system had been capable of acquiring them.

Which brings us to this CH-149 Cormorant, which shows that 'high vis' yellow is still fashionable in some quarters.

Speaking of paint jobs, this A-4N Skyhawk,
originally from Israel and now the property of CAE/Draken stood out. The pilot, a twenty year RCAF veteran, advised that they also operated ex-New Zealand A-4K's equipped  with APG-66 air-to-air radar that saw a lot of use at Red Flag in Nevada. Discovery Air may have some real competition here.

One of the great things about a visit to any airport are the weird and wonderful 'planes that can be found around the outskirts of the field. Case in point, these Conair S-2 Firecats.

The folding wings remind you of their naval origins and that, like the A-4, they are still used operationally by the Brazilian navy.

One can only hope that these C-130's at Cascade Aerospace will one day find a new life. (Search and Rescue, anyone)

-Of course the star of the show was the first 
appearance in Canada of the F-35. The air police and rope line reminded some spectators of a certain age of the occasional appearance of the F-117 Nighthawk at events like this in the past. 

But with a little maneuvering it was possible to get an unimpeded shot of the aircraft, albeit one that seems to emphasize its rather portly lines.

This rear view shows the complex geometry of the design which would appear to confirm reports that the aircraft has lower "stealth" from this angle.
It was interesting to see, as this stock photo provided at the Abbotsford Airshow site shows, that unlike it's competitor the F-18 Superhornet was able to provide a flying demonstration as well as static viewing.

A great airshow and great aircraft.