Thousands had their eyes to the sky over the weekend as high flying stunts were just one of the many attractions at this year’s Lethbridge International Air Show.
Despite the rain and cancellation of Saturday afternoon’s show, Sunday’s performances continued with the CF-18 demonstration team wrapping up the event.
Captain Matthew Kutryk flew his specially painted CF-188 Hornet commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“A huge milestone for our country and a huge milestone for our air force,” Captain Kutryk said. “My team and I are absolutely thrilled to take this airplane and share it with Canadians.”
Since the 1980’s the front line fighter jet has played an important role in Canada’s defence.
“This jet has seen operations overseas as well as within Canada with NORAD, northern sovereignty operations,” Captian Kutryk said.
On the ground, dozens of planes, military aircraft and helicopters were on display including the Canadian Forces C-17 Globemaster.
The Globemaster aircraft provides everything from the delivery of troops and cargo – to oversized combat equipment from cost to coast and around the world.
For some it was their first time taking the event all in, including 11-year-old Max Gutfriend.
“I love all the big military planes here,” Gutfriend said. “There’s the bombers over there and all this cool stuff like F-18 Hornets, 1956 fighter jets.”
Several U.S. military aircraft were also showcased with one pilot having special ties to the city.
Major Richard with the United States Air Force grew up in Magrath and first experienced the air show when he was seven.
“The first time I ever saw the C5 was at that air show, he said. “It was an exciting opportunity when I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to do,” he said.
After moving to the United States at the age of 15, Major Richard eventually attended college and joined the air force. That’s when his dream came true.
“I was fortunate enough to get the assignment to fly the C5 Galaxy as my first assignment and I flew that airplane for four years,” Major Richard said.
Now Major Richard operates the MQ-9 Reaper, a remotely piloted aircraft currently used in the fight against ISIS.
“What’s even more amazing is being back here seeing that same airplane, representing the RPA community as well and just being back where it all started is touching for me,” Major Richard said.
But with no shortage of things to do at the air show, some simply took the time to say thanks.
“I have such an appreciation for everything that they [the pilots] do because we’re very fortunate to live in the country that we do and have neighbours that we do to the south, including our armed forces here,” spectator Danielle Forsyth said.
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