By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Final prep work is being completed on the 2015 Lethbridge International Air Show, being held this Friday night and Saturday at the Lethbridge Airport.
Marc Ouellette, vice-president of the Lethbridge International Air Show said, things are coming along.
“I think we’ve got most of our stuff finalized. There’s always little things that happen at the end — between now and the actual air show,” he noted.
Ouellette said, sadly, the air show lost one of the planes in the scheduled line-up.
“The B-25 will not be appearing. They were going to be static. They broke down and those are old planes and are hard to fix,” he explained, adding bumps on the runway are just regular aspects of an air show.
“We have schedules and everybody changes. It gets a little hectic and now we’re just trying to finalize and get all our sponsors taken care of and get all our tickets out there.”
Ticket sales, Ouellette added, are slow right now and he hopes sales will pick up.
“We definitely need the support of the community this time,” he said. But, he added, there has been a lot of excitement for this year’s event, especially the Friday night twilight show.
According to Ouellette, many people don’t necessarily come to an air show because they can’t stand walking on the tarmac when it’s over 30 degrees outside.
“You get burned pretty quick and some people don’t like the sun. Having an evening show kind of gives them the opportunity to come out,” he said, adding he has also heard from a few religious groups and individuals who mentioned they don’t like the idea of having an air show on a Sunday.
“Coming out on the Friday and Saturday — we’re not infringing on their beliefs.”
The Friday show will be a little bit shorter, said Ouellette, but it’s also being held to hopefully attract a younger crowd.
“In the past, we haven’t been really attracting the 18-29 age group and we want to get them involved. We’re doing a lot more social media and doing it on a Friday night — the idea came from myself and we did research with the Lethbridge College marketing department. They did a survey and they came up with the recommendation of ‘maybe you should try a Friday night’ — a date night type of situation, so we get the younger crowds and give them something to do,” said Ouellette.
Ouellette said the show features U.S. support this year with the second largest military cargo plane in the world coming — the C-5 Galaxy.
“Which is going to be interesting to see. The front opens and the back opens — you can actually drive through this plane. They can put, I think it’s six tanks in there, that they can deliver at a time. It’s pretty big.”
This year’s show will also feature the Lethbridge 702 Wing C-17 from the Royal Canadian Air Force for static and one from the United States. A U.S. drone is also a part of the air show’s arsenal.
“There’s never been a U.S. drone at any Canadian air show, until now. We’re the first one to have a drone.”
Of course, Ouellette added, the F-18 Snowbirds will be opening the Friday show and closing the Saturday show.
“The F-18s are going to close Friday night. It will be getting close to dusk when it goes up. You’ll be able to see the afterburners. That’s quite a thing to see. The flames coming out of that plane is about 30 to 40-feet long and you don’t see it during the day too much.”
Stars from the Discovery Channel’s hit “Air Show” will also be at the event.
“The public will be able to meet Super Dave. I know he’s a big star. Super Dave will only be around for Friday night. But we have a slew of the other guys that are going to be flying in the show and signing autographs at the autograph tent.”
Winners have also been announced for the 2015 “Your Ticket to the Sky” raffle, presented by southern Alberta Crime Stoppers and the Lethbridge International Air Show. First prize winner was William Simpson, of Coaldale.
Simpson is the winner of a one-person flight in an L-39 Albatross jet fighter, plus two meet and greet passes with cast members of Discovery TV’s “Air Show,” two tickets to the Lethbridge International Air Show and two tickets to the wrap-up barbecue to mix and mingle with the performers after the event. This incredible prize package is valued at $5,000. Simpson is stoked to head to the show and this will be his first time attending an air show in Lethbridge. He’s also super excited about the one-person flight in a jet fighter. “It’s a childhood dream. It’s going to go over Mach 1,” said Simpson. “I just hope I don’t mess my drawers,” he joked.
Second prize was won by Melissa Robdrup, of Lethbridge. Robdrup is the winner of a one-person flight in a B-17 bomber plus two tickets to the air show and two tickets to the wrap-up barbecue. This prize package is valued at $2,500. Gates open on Friday at 4 p.m. with the performance at 7 p.m. (twilight show) and Saturday at 9 a.m. with the performance at 1 p.m.
General Admission price is $25 at the gate with children eight and under free. Tickets in advance for ages eight and up are $17.50. For more information visit online at http://www.LethbridgeAirShow.ca.