Coronavirus: Airshow London to go ahead as drive-in event

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are seen rehearsing a flying routine, Sept. 18, 2015 in Forestville, Md.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are seen rehearsing a flying routine, Sept. 18, 2015 in Forestville, Md. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Londoners will still have a chance to see impressive aircraft take to the skies this September, all from the comfort of their own vehicles.

On Monday, Airshow London announced the 2020 event will go forward but with a bit of a twist.

Organizers say a drive-in format will allow them to offer a full air show — including the only Canadian appearance of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds — while also maintaining physical distancing and other health guidelines resulting from the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

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The announcement comes just over a week after organizers first announced that the show would not go on in its traditional format. At the time, organizers said: “We are working on ways to still bring you an air show — even if it’s a bit different than what you are used to.”

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“We know how much the air show is enjoyed by the community, so while the impact of COVID-19 prevents us from producing our traditional-style event, we wanted to create a solution that minimizes risk and interaction while still offering an exciting and family-friendly event,” said Airshow London chair Jim Graham.

The event is being billed as “Canada’s first socially responsible and physically distant air show.”

According to organizers, in addition to the Thunderbirds and aircraft representing the Royal Canadian Air Force, the show will also include demonstrations by the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team and the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster Demonstration Team.

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The air show is one ticket per vehicle, which must be pre-purchased, organizers say. Motorists will then be directed to park in their own 20-by-25-foot space to enjoy the show either in or outside their vehicle and listen to the show on their car radios.

Officials say there’s space for nearly 2,500 vehicles. Portable washrooms will be available, and guests are encouraged to bring their own non-alcoholic refreshments.

The event will run Sept. 12 and 13 at the London International Airport.

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Airshow London will go ahead this year but in a drive-in format. via Airshow London

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