Vancouver pilot of the Nanchang CJ6A

Vancouver pilot of the Nanchang CJ6A

Tradition flies its way back into the heart of the community

On August 11 the community embraced a nearly forgotten tradition as pilots from around BC populated the local airstrip.



Christina Millington

Omineca Express

 

 

 

After 18 years the Vanderhoof Airshow is back.

On August 11 the community embraced a nearly forgotten tradition as pilots from around BC populated the local airstrip.

Onlookers were able to reminisce and appreciate the years of aviation and tradition that Vanderhoof was once known for as the remarkable machines made way up and down the runway bringing tradition back to the community.

The Vanderhoof airshow was once known as the “largest camping airshow in northern Canada,” according to airshow organizer Peet Vahi.

The small event brought out over 2,800 curious attendees whom pulled up some grass with family and friends to take in the sights of the early 1900s fighter planes and jets.

“We need something happy to happen here,” said Vahi, and the show did just that as it not only resurrected an early 1990s past-time but enabled the community to experience and be entertained by a show that put Vanderhoof on the aviation map.

Pilot John Mrazek took to the skies in his L29 Delphin (Cold War-era training jet for the Soviets), as spectators took in its beauty against the clear blue-sky backdrop.

Alberta pilot, Ron Andrews flew his factory certified 1985 Pitts S2B called the Blender, then took to the crowds signing aviation memorabilia and talking to aspired young pilots that lined the fence to get a glimpse of the experienced pilot.

Curtis Mann, a 22 year old pilot from Vancouver flew his CJ-6A Nanchang Chinese fighter plane.

“I was invited by John Mrazek to attend this years airshow,” said Mann. “I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be a part of the show.”

The three-hour event delivered flying demos to exhilarating races that took to the skies with determination and grace as the vintage planes showcased their solid craftsmanship.

The night was filled with the musical talents of pop musician Bryant Olender and classic rock band BANG!, with musical renditions that filled the crisp night air during the hanger party that had locals dancing well into the night.