Manitoba Airshow takes off at the Southport Airport in Portage la Prairie

Dan Reeves flying in the Manitoba Airshow on Saturday, July 7, 2018. Amber McGuckin/Global News

Thousands of spectators were on cloud nine watching the Manitoba Airshow on Saturday.

About 50 pilots showed off their skills — dropping, flipping and zipping through clouds — for four hours at the Southport Airport in Portage la Prairie.

One of the highlights of the airshow is the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. 

Captain Blake McNaughton of the Snowbirds said being part of the crew is humbling.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s a challenge flying in tight formation, low level, at high speeds. It’s very demanding, and people want to strive for their best. We’re out here [to] try to demonstrate the skill, professionalism and teamwork of all Canadian Forces members serving all around the world.”

Commander Dave Cochrane with the Royal Canadian Air Force said he’s hopeful young people will say the sky’s not the limit when considering a career in aviation.

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“We’re hoping that there may be some young enthusiasts out there who want to be pilots in the future. We have a recruiting table here and a lot of static aircraft that people can go and talk to the pilots,” he said, adding the event is about bringing people together.

“It’s basically just showing people about aviation, of the various aircraft that we have, both military and civilian.”

Peggy May, co-chair of the Manitoba Air Show, said they expect about 10,000 people to attend the show and hope even more come out on Sunday.

“They’re coming from all over the province. Our ticket system has told us that they’re coming from up north, and from Saskatchewan, Ontario, [and] from across the border, so were getting them from all over the place,” she said.

“People come to see all the aviation-related things. If you’re an aviation buff, there’s a bit of romance to aviation and I think people just love to come out to see that stuff.”

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In 2016, many aviation fans were left frustrated after long lines meant people abandoned the idea of going to the airshow after waiting hours to get to the show.

The event runs Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but the flying happens from about 12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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