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ISSUE 182 - August 2011
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Great Lakes and Great Friends - Part II

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

Last week we visited the Great Lakes International Airshow in St. Thomas Ontario, an airshow partnership, if you will, between Canadian and American aviation participants. It's an example of what friends on both sides of the border, between our two great nations, can accomplish in order to facilitate a great airshow.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration Team 2011
always thrills and chills with their close formation passes and manoeuvres.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration Team is always a favourite of airshow crowds and they never fail to please. With Team Lead, Major Chris Hope, leading the 9-plane formation, the CT-114 Tutor aircraft flew a marvelous show, as always. The red and white jets, designed and built in Canada in the 1960s, are expected to continue flying with the team until 2020. Despite their age, these aircraft are loved by their pilots and airshow spectators alike.

Two US Navy F-5N's approach with their first pass, left.
One of the two F-5N US Navy jets in an overhead pass, right.

Two US Navy F-5N jet fighters arrived late in the day tearing up the sky with several high-speed passes. A twin-engine tactical fighter aircraft, the F-5 is used as an air-to-air combat training aircraft as well as a tactical fighter and attack aircraft and is built by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Four F-16 Fighting Falcons from Tulsa, Oklahoma break overhead the airfield, left.
One of the four in a high speed, after-burner, low pass, right.

Not to be outdone, four F-16 Fighting Falcons arrived shortly after the F-5's departed, in tight formation, breaking for the circuit overhead the airport. Coming around for individual passes in a similar fashion to the Vermont F-16s, these four jets kept the loud in the show with after-burner passes. Never lacking for attention, eyes remained skyward as the four jets finished their passes with the final jet climbing straight for the heavens in a sky that had turned from gray and dull to a partly cloudy, blue sky.

The Jet Aircraft Museum's "Mako Shark" T-33 was scheduled to be in earlier in the day from Waterloo but a low ceiling across Southwestern Ontario meant a delay and late arrival in St. Thomas but she eventually made it.

Though the show was 'officially' over, one final arrival from Waterloo was the Jet Aircraft Museum's T-33 (Tbird), the "Mako Shark." Once used by the RCAF/Canadian Forces as a 2-seat training aircraft, they were struck off strength a few years ago and several were purchased across Canada and in the United States. The Jet Aircraft Museum was lucky enough to purchase six of these wonderful aircraft and work continues on restoring to flying condition all 6 airplanes.

US Air Force C-130J Hercules on static display, left.
US Navy A-4 Skyhawk, one of two on display during the show, right.

Along with the flying aircraft, there were many static airplanes as well and support came from the US Navy, US Air Force, and US Air National Guard as well as the Canadian Air Force. The St. Thomas Optimist Club served up an assortment of food and beverages at a very reasonable cost and aviation souvenirs and clothing were available from an assortment of vendors including D-Day Wear with their excellent assortment of commemorative t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.

Paint scheme on the 2011 CF-18 display Hornet celebrating and honouring Canadian military families, left. The CC-177 Globemaster III back-taxiing under its own power creating little mini-tornados in front of the engines due to the humidity in the air, right.

The Great Lakes International Airshow is a prime example of the cooperation and friendship between Canada and the United States. It goes further than sharing a border or sharing the Great Lakes waterways. It is a bond that has seen both our militaries participate in helping rid the world of terrorism and terrorist threats. The fact that we can work and play together makes it a friendship few other countries can claim. Great friends across the Great Lakes!

Canadian Forces CC-130 landing after dropping the SAR's jumpers.

For more on the Great Lakes International Airshow:

The Snowbirds flying their beautifully painted CT-114 Canadair Tutors.

For more information on the Canadian Forces Snowbirds:

CF-18 Demonstration Hornet in a near vertical climb immediately after take-off, left.
The CF-18 Demonstration Hornet in a tight, 360 degree turn over the airfield, right.

For more information on the CF-18 Demonstration Team:

Nice bottom-side pass by the Helldiver during its performance.

For more information on the Confederate Air Force Helldiver:

Nice formation pass by the CHAT team, ending their performance for the day.

For more about the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association:

Canadian Warplane Heritage B-25J Mitchell on final approach for landing.

For more information on the Canadian Warplane Heritage:

F-16 Fighting Falcon, gear coming up on an "overshoot" pass.

For more information on the F-16:

Two A-10 "Warthogs" on static display, left.
US ANG crew watch the show from atop their Herc, right.


CWH Avro Lancaster Mk X making a pass in a dark, dreary sky.


Canadian Air Force 2011 Demonstration CF-18 Hornet


U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin (Dauphin) helicopter from Detroit during its demonstration.


Four Canadian Forces Snowbirds pass overhead during their performance, left. Canadian Forces CH-146 Griffon helicopter participating in the mock combat, dropping off troops to assist with the defence of the airport, right.


Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration Team 2011, opposing solos,
Great Lakes International Airshow 2011.


By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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