By Jacob Noseworthy for the Gazette
The second annual Grand Forks Airport Appreciation and Fly-In Show and Shine’ went off with a supersonic boom. While none of the aircraft featured at the Grand Forks Airport this past weekend broke the sound barrier, the aeronautical feats showcased impressed all spectators.
Cher Wyers, secretary for the Grand Forks Flying Association, said the event was very well received by the community and had a really good turnout despite rainy conditions on Saturday.
“We were pleasantly surprised considering the weather conditions,” said Wyers. “Our donations that came in were almost $700. People were very generous. That’s a really positive sign. I think people really enjoyed themselves.”
The Fly-In officially began on Saturday evening, with a barbecue potluck, meet and greet event and a showing of Disney’s ‘Planes’ for the children and children-at-heart in attendance. The ‘Runway Theatre’ drew a large crowd, where fun, games, prizes, and draws were to be had for all in attendance.
After a lively night, the air show began again Sunday morning at 7 a.m. with a special farmer’s market set up at the airport and a pancake breakfast put on by the Elks Lodge. Despite the early morning rain, many packed under the tents to enjoy the meal, courtesy of the local Elks. After the popular breakfast wrapped up, the very first flying demonstrations began, Okanagan Warbird planes flew laps around the airport, flying close over the runway with blue smoke to put on a show, and astonishing the crowd. As the sun crept back out and the rain disappeared, the unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) demonstrations were very popular, managing to show the capabilities of the technology without droning on. Shortly following the drone show was an exciting demonstration of the home-made aircraft, exhibiting the talents of aircraft enthusiasts on a smaller scale. Between the demonstrations of the various aircraft, there were many attractions for the guests to take in, the open hangars were hubs of activities as guests were able to see local aircraft close up, and admire the technology. A classic car show was also held featuring many vintage cars. In addition, the Grand Forks Volunteer Firefighters Association was on site selling calendars and displaying the ladder truck and the vintage 1929 fire truck, the first motorized fire truck in Grand Forks. Alongside the events taking place during the day, tickets were also sold for a raffle for plane rides, allowing spectators to go up and take in the sights.
The thrilling event drew in guests from all over the province, with individuals attending from Vernon to Vancouver. Tim Cole, the regional director of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), also flew in for the event. COPA has existed in Canada for 62 years, created out of necessity of an organization to look after the small operators and individual aircraft owners in Canada.
The air-show was also a great feature for two Canadian aircraft: the new King George ultra-light, and the 75th anniversary of the Harvard aircraft. The Harvard aircraft was created in 1939 as a basic trainer for instruction and practice, while maintaining the controls and feel of an actual combat aircraft.
The second iteration of Grand Forks’ showcase on aircraft was a great success, making the Grand Forks Airport the place to be this past Sunday. Many aircraft were on display over the course of the day, and allowed guests to see various planes and helicopters close up. The feature piqued many spectators’ interest, and illustrated how spectacular aircraft can be.