Plans aloft for Cranbrook 2016 airshow

Plans are off the ground for a 2016 airshow, with a special teaser this summer that will include flyovers of two vintage WWII planes.

Plans are off the ground for a 2016 airshow, with a special teaser this summer that will include flyovers of two vintage WWII planes — a twin-engine B25 “Mitchell” bomber, which visited Cranbrook last summer, and a B17 “Flying Fortress” bomber.

“This is a new contractor we’re working with out of Calgary,” explained CAO Wayne Staudt at Monday’s meeting. “He’s prepared to do some preliminary activity in 2015, including getting the Snowbirds flying over and some other things.”

The vintage planes will take to the air in mid-July, while the Snowbirds — accompanied by a a CF 18 fighter and a CF Buffalo aircraft — are scheduled for mid-August.

Planning for the Canadian Rockies International Airshow is underway and on Wednesday, April 22, the Cranbrook International Airshow Society will meet at 7 p.m. at the old airport firehall. Darrell Garton, chair of the society, is inviting anyone interested to come to the meeting. They are looking for volunteers from all over the area and will be going over the details of the airshow plans.

The Canadian Rockies International Airshow is planned for Aug. 5 and 6, 2016.

The upcoming teasers this summer are meant to help raise interest in the 2016 airshow. The vintage World War II bombers are operated by the Commemorative Air Force, while the Canadian Forces operate the CF 18 and the Buffalo, as well as the Snowbirds. The August flyover will also include up to eight civilian aeronautical performers that will offer a sample of their performances.

Among the civilian performers that will be participating in the teaser are several performers from the Discovery Channel television series “Airshow”. That includes series star “Super Dave” Mathieson.

Additionally, the executive producer of Airshow, Mark Miller, a former resident of Cranbrook, will be in attendance this August to film the flyover as part of the television series.

As a fund raiser for the new local airshow society, WestJet has graciously donated a return ticket for two to any scheduled WestJet destination in Canada. The society will hold a raffle for tickets this summer with the proceeds going into the development of the airshow.

Back in April 2014, the City of Cranbrook was contacted by Garton, a Calgary-based airline contractor with a passion for airshows. He wanted to establish a new not-for-profit society for producing the Canadian Rockies International Airshow. The city noted that Garton is well connected in the airshow sector with extensive direct involvement in the production of airshows.

Garton has family ties to the Cranbrook area and is familiar with the Canadian Rockies International Airport (CRIA) as an airshow venue. City staff said that from the initial contact made to the city, the Tristan Chernove, Airport Managing Director and Kevin Weaver, Economic Development Officer for the city, have been working with Garton to advance the concept.

In October 2015, an independent non-profit-society was established for the airshow society.

The society is planning for the August 5 and 6, 2016 dates for the airshow.

It will feature civilian and military performers from across Canada and the U.S.

The city is estimating the two day event will attract over 10,000 attendees.

The city noted that significant planning still has to be undertaken by the society.