An aviation celebration

Aviation has come a long way since the Wright Brothers’ first flying machine broke the bonds of Earth in December 1903.

Aviation has come a long way since the Wright Brothers’ first flying machine broke the bonds of Earth in December 1903.

Not only did increasingly sophisticated aircraft speed up travel and shipping, the lure of the open skies ignited a worldwide passion for flying.

It is with a passion for aviation and the Shuswap Regional Airport that the Salmon Arm Flying Club will celebrate Airport Appreciation Day Sunday, June 22.

Flying Club president Tim Auger says two Canadian military planes will be  on display this year.

The CT-156 Harvard II is an agile turboprop trainer and the aircraft of choice for the early stages of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program.

On take-off, the CT-156 can climb about one kilometre per minute and can handle sustained 2G turns at an altitude of 24,606 feet.

It is the airplane air force pilots train on at CFB Moose Jaw before heading north to Cold Lake for top gun training on the CT-155 Hawk.

Also selected for the NFTC program for its similarities to frontline fighter aircraft, one of the highly advanced Hawks is expected to fly over the Salmon Arm airport around noon on its way back to Cold Lake from Kelowna.

With its superior technology, including a Rolls Royce engine that generates more than 6,000 pounds of thrust, the jet can perform a wide range of high performance training missions. Once they have logged 125 flight hours on the Hawk, student fighter pilots are ready to move on to the CF-18 Hornets.

Airport Appreciation Day will also feature three aerobatic pilots and their thrilling manoeuvres.

Blender Aviation owner Ron Andrew will put his  Pitts Special through its paces at 10:30 a.m. and again at noon.

A Canadian Flight Centre Super Decathlon will take to the air at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

And Phil Symmons from Vernon will be taking his Pitts S12 skyward in an aerobatic ballet at 11:30 a.m.

There will be a fly-by by various ultralights, two Jaws of Life demonstrations, a rapattack water drop, and an opportunity to win scenic flights in hourly draws beginning at 10 a.m.

Also at 10, members of 222 Shuswap Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets will parade onto the tarmac for an award ceremony.

The Flying Club will be presenting trophies to two “top cadets” this year as there was a tie in marks earned in the Transport Canada exam.

The gates to Airport Appreciation Day open Sunday, June 22 at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast in the Flight Spot Restaurant, which will also be serving lunch beginning at 11.

The day will wrap about 3 p.m.