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ISSUE 91 - November 2009
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Air Display Weekend – CFB Trenton – Part 1

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

CFB Trenton Memorial Gates stand proudly along the main road to the base honouring the partnership between the Commonwealth countries during World War II and their efforts to train Airmen at the BCATP bases across Canada.

At one time Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Eastern Ontario drew crowds from all over Ontario, upstate New York, Michigan, Ohio and elsewhere with their semi-annual airshow. It was an impressive and enjoyable airshow with lots to see, lots of flying, and a great way to spend a summer day. It was the Quinte International Air Show and offered an extensive range of air and ground displays. Unfortunately, the attacks on the World Trade Centres in New York, the war in Afghanistan, and finances all combined to put a long-term hold on the airshow.

To the left (east side) of the Memorial Gates, on the face of the brick wall is the dedication for the gates (English version), left. At the top of the gates is the crest of the RCAF, the Maple Leaf and the poppy, right.

However, change was in the wind because the year 2009 has Canada and Canadians celebrating several anniversaries and milestones in aviation in this country. It is the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada. It is the 85th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The 60th anniversary of CFB Trenton’s Memorial Gates (dedicated to the base after World War II). The 40th anniversary of the gliding program with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets (Ontario). The 40th anniversary of 8 Wing Air Communication and Control Squadron, and the 25th anniversary of the National Air Force Museum at CFB Trenton. How could there not be an airshow to honour and celebrate all of this!

The backbone of the Canadian Air Force’s power, the CF-188 (CF-18) Hornet, left. The mainstay of the BCATP and the airplane that trained so many pilots during World War II, the Harvard, right.

Though the name changed from the Quinte International Air Show to Armed Forces Weekend and Air Display, the quality and participants were as good or better than they have been in the past. From vintage aircraft to modern, high-speed fighters and transport aircraft, the air display offered something for everyone.

The vertical tail fin of the Vintage Wings of Canada, Golden Hawks F-86 Sabre, Hawk One, showing off the Centennial of Flight Silver Dart logo, left. One of the best known landmarks at CFB Trenton, the old red & white checker water tower above and behind the massive propeller of the CC-130 Hercules, right

Before the actual “air” part of the show commenced there was a parade held for the rededication of the RCAF Memorial Gates to the base. The gates were dedicated by several Commonwealth countries, allies, of the RAF and RCAF during World War II who came to Canada and learned to fly with the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) at numerous airfields across Canada. Members of the Canadian Forces, representatives of the BCATP allied countries and spectators were witness to a moving and memorable parade.

The Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration Team, The Skyhawks, started the show with a jumper flying the Canadian Flag, left. One of the Skyhawk jumpers spiralling toward earth performing some 20+ spirals on the way down trailing the candy-cane of smoke, right.

Opening the airshow were the Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team jumping from a Canadian Forces CC-130 Hercules Transport/Rescue aircraft. As the Canadian anthem played, and the first parachutist gracefully floated toward earth, the huge Canadian Flag extended below, splayed out in the wind. The crowd stood and sang with pride.

A Search and Rescue Griffon performing a mock rescue during the show with a crew member preparing the winch, left, and SAR members winching back up to the helicopter, right.

A Canadian Forces CH-146 Griffon Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter performed a mock rescue, demonstrating not only the aircraft capabilities, but the ability of the SAR rescue personnel as well. The Griffon helicopter is used in several different roles with the Canadian Forces including SAR, casualty evacuation, counter drug operations, surveillance and recon operations, as well as in humanitarian operations, both within Canada and world-wide.

Two CF-188 (CF-18) Hornets and a CC-150 Polaris (Airbus) took to the skies to perform a mock air-to-air refuelling demonstration, one CF-188 aircraft flying off each wing of the Polaris. The Canadian Air Force operates 4 Polaris outfitted with refuelling wing pods and can be readied for air-to-air refuelling capabilities very quickly depending on the requirements of the aircraft.

Next week we’ll continue with a look at the remainder of the Air Display including the Globemaster, the newest addition to the Canadian Air Force, the Centennial of Flight Team aircraft, and one of the top aerobatic display teams in the world, the Snowbirds.

In tight, locked-in formation, three Skyhawk jumpers descend toward the earth in an impressive demonstration, left. After their demonstration, the entire Skyhawks team salutes the crowd, right.

One of the CHAA Harvards close-in for the camera, left. At the end of Sunday’s show the Vintage Wings of Canada aircraft, Spitfire, Mustang, and Corsair, departed for home (Ottawa) and performed a nice formation pass for the crowd, right.

Another visitor to the show was one of two flying Avro Lancaster bombers left in the world, this one from Canadian Warplane Heritage, left. The nose of the Centennial of Flight Demonstration Hornet gleams in the warm July sun, right.

The CC-150 Polaris (Airbus) shortly after take off, gear almost fully retracted.

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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