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Five Things to Know: Abbotsford International Air Show

The Abbotsford International Air Show takes flight this weekend, bringing an array of eye-popping aerial and static displays from the world of flight.

The Abbotsford International Air Show takes flight this weekend, bringing an array of sights from the world of flight. Since 1970, Abbotsford has been designated as “Canada’s National Airshow,” and the city in the country takes their mission to produce the country’s best air show very seriously. No surprise, then, that the three-day festival is the community’s keystone annual event.

Here are five things to know about this weekend’s air show, which runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Abbotsford International Airport:

The Blue Angels Are Back

The 2018 Air Show will feature the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Canada’s military aerobatics team. The snowbirds will perform each day — at 6 p.m. on Friday, and 5:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. But they won’t be the only aerobatics group on the schedule: this year’s air show will also mark the return of America’s commensurate crew, the US Navy Blue Angels, making their first appearance since 2003.

Here’s footage of the Blue Angels’ arrival in Abbotsford:

The RCAF celebrates 60 years of NORAD

The Royal Canadian Air Force doesn’t just send some planes to the air show: the RCAF selects a theme for each year for its CF-18 air demonstration team. 2018’s theme is the 60th Anniversary of NORAD. At this and other air shows around the country, the RCAF will be highlighting the importance of honouring the past, guarding the present, and protecting the future.

Captain Stefan Porteous will be the pilot for the 2018 CF-18 Demonstration Team. Each evening, you’ll be able to see him piloting the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet, the aircraft Canada has deployed to nearly 3,000 possible threats to Canada and United States since 2001.

Fireworks on Friday

Everything gets going a little later on Friday, the opening day at the Air Show. On day one, the gates open at 3 p.m., and close at 10:30 p.m, as opposed to Saturday and Sunday, which run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

That means, on Friday, the Air Show has a night sky to work with, and they’re making the most of it. After watching the Blue Angels, the Hornet, the Snowbirds and the setting sun, you can close out the evening with a fireworks spectacle at 9:45 p.m.

Come for the planes, stay for the food

Here’s a very fun fact: in addition to being the Lower Mainland’s largest air show, The Abbotsford International Air Show is also the Fraser Valley’s largest food truck festival. Come for the aircraft, sure, but stay for the food. There will be more than 40 different food trucks and vendors on the grounds, including one called Mo Bacon, which serves “bacon and bacon accessories.”

See the full, mouth-watering list of vendors here.

Private planes are often the coolest

And finally, in addition to the aerial and static displays from the Canadian Armed Forces, the Abbotsford Air Show gives you the opportunity to see a variety of privately-owned aircraft. These are often the coolest planes.

At least one individual will be showing off his Pitts Special, for instance, and if you’re an aviation nerd at all, this should excite you. The Pitts Special, a single-seat biplane designed in the 1940s, was the crown jewel of aerobatics through the 1960s and 1970s, and it was the plane flown by female aviation legend Betty Skelton, who set a number of speed records with her Pitts Special, the Little Stinker.

 

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