A B-1B Lancer may make an appearance at the Canadian Rockies International Airshow.

A B-1B Lancer may make an appearance at the Canadian Rockies International Airshow.

Airshow will bring in exotic aircraft

As plans for next year’s airshow fly into view, the show is shaping up to be an exciting one with many exotic aircraft coming to Cranbrook.

Arne Petryshen

As plans for next year’s airshow fly into view, the show is shaping up to be an exciting one with many exotic aircraft coming to Cranbrook. Some of those slated are the CF-18 Hornet, a B1-B Lancer and a C-17 Galaxy — one of the biggest military transport planes in the world.

Thomas Murphy, air operations director for the Canadian Rockies International Airshow, was in council Monday to talk about the marvels of flight featured in the show.

The show is a two day event planned for Aug. 5 and 6, 2016 at the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

“It is going to feature a wide variety of military and civilian aircrafts from both Canada and the United States,” Murphy said.

There will be a twilight show on the Friday evening, and then a traditional show on Saturday show which includes both flying demonstrations and static displays of aircrafts and helicopters.

The airshow will include many aircraft such as the T-33, the Canadian Forces C-17 and the CF-18 Hornet.

“The twilight show, as you can see form some of these pictures, we have one of the best backdrops in the world, we have the Canadian Rockies obviously to be our backdrop,” Murphy said. “The twilight show is neat because you get to see the airplanes, near nighttime. You get to see things like the afterburner. You get to see the sunlight reflecting on the aircraft.”

He said it is a really neat show for the spectators as they get to see things they wouldn’t normally be able to see.

Canadian Rockies International Airshow is a not-for-profit committee made up entirely of volunteers, including Murphy.

“It was formed with the purpose of organizing and managing this airshow starting in the 2016 season and recurring biannually every two year after that,” he said.

Murphy said they haven’t finish all of the contract negotiations with the flyers, but could say some of the acts that are coming.

“From the Royal Canadian Air Force we have the Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces demo CF-18 Hornet and the Skyhawks, which is the Canadian Forces parachute demo team,” he said.

There will also be a host of civilian performers such as Stephan Tuck flying a Pitts Special, Super Dave Matheson in a MX2. Murphy noted that a lot of the civilian performers have been featured on the TV show Airshow.

They are also trying to bring in Dan Buchanen, who is paraplegic and flies a hang glider in both day and night shows.

On the static display side there will be a lot to see as well. Murphy said they may possibly have a B-1B Lancer, a C-17 Globemaster and also possibly a U.S. C-5 Galaxy — one of the world’s largest cargo planes.

Murphy said the airshow society came together with the goal of putting together a world class airshow that would be the biggest ever held in Southeastern B.C.

Murphy said they expect to draw 10,000 visitors to the region for the event.

“We’re estimating that we can generate up to $1 million in revenue for local businesses and raise awareness of the East Kootenay region as a destination for travel and tourism,” Murphy said.

He said they have had a lot of success securing sponsorship on the local, regional and provincial levels. That combined with the ticket sales is expected to cover the vast majority of the fixed cost for the event.

Murphy asked if the city could provide some assistance for the event.

“We’re looking for dedicated fire support for the three days the event is going to be on, which is the one practice day and the two actual event days,” he said.

They are also hoping the city will wave permit or event fees and use of the City Work department signs and barricades.

“We’re going to be coming up with a traffic management plan and possibly doing some road closures and things like that to try to streamline getting people in and out of the airport while not causing any hassles to the actual flying public because the airport will still be dealing with passengers,” he said.

He said they also hope to discuss the use of transit buses as shuttles and city water trucks to pre-water areas prior to the pyrotechnical displays. He added they hope for consideration of a dedicated peace officer as well.

Coun. Tom Shypitka asked if Cranbrook’s runway length restricts them in any way.

“No,” Murphy replied. “We have over a 8,000 foot runway in Cranbrook and that means essentially that we are unrestricted for any type of aircraft or performance that can come into Cranbrook. We can take the biggest planes straight down to the smallest.”

Shypitka had only one more question and that whether a councillor could get a ride in the CF-18.

Unfortunately for Shypitka, Murphy noted the CF-18 is only a single seater.

Murphy said the MX2 and the Pitts Special are both coming back and are tandem aircraft that may have rides available.


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