Clear skies, air show set to takeoff

With sunny skies in the forecast and world-class aviators, it’s safe to say London Airshow organizers are on cloud nine.

From the Canadian Armed Forces parachute team to the high-powered Super Hornets and the crowd-favourites the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, jaw-dropping planes will be tearing up the tarmac Saturday and Sunday at London International Airport.

Speaking by phone from the heart of the action Friday afternoon, the show’s opening day, chair Jim Graham was quick to give a weather report.

“It’s hot, sunny with a chance of fighter jets!” he proclaimed.

Better the super-powered planes in the clouds than precipitation, he said — especially since organizers had to cancel one day of last year’s show because the weather.

“To get rained out on the Saturday it was definitely a hard on the morale,” said Graham.

“Seeing the weather line up this year … it’s awesome.”

Between the roar of the F-15 jets overhead, Graham — a pilot and life-long aviation enthusiast — said the weekend is like Christmas for anyone interested in high-flying planes.

Though Graham has worked in the aviation industry since he was young — doing everything from hauling baggage to cleaning airplane bathrooms — seeing the state-of-the-art military planes up close never gets old.

“To see the latest technology right in front of you, to touch it, feel it and to see the capabilities in the air,” he said.

“To see what these planes can do and the professionals who fly them, how they can make them dance, it’s incredible.”

At the London Airport, pilots and planes arrived to a hero’s welcome Friday, greeted by Mayor Matt Brown and London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos.

The airplane extravaganza, now in its second year as a not-for-profit event, is raising money for three London organizations: the Children’s Health Foundation, Parkwood Hospital’s veterans care program and Fanshawe College’s aviation program.

“It’s great to see the excitement around it,” said Graham.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

jbieman@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JenatLFPress

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IF YOU GO

What: Airshow London

When: Saturday and Sunday (gates open 9 a.m., close 6 p.m.)

Where: London International Airport (see airshowlondon.com for satellite parking lots; buses available to transport ticket buyers to the show)

Tickets: Adult $40, senior/veteran/military $35, student $20

 

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