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2013 Air Shows
Great Lakes International Air Show (GLIAS) June 28-30
Location: St. Thomas Municipal Airport, Ontario
Admission: Adult $25.00, Youth (6-17) $20.00 Senior (65+) $20.00 per day at the gate. Advance discounted internet prices were offered.
Parking: $5.00 off site with buses
Value: Excellent
The much anticipated 2013 Great Lakes International Air Show was an excellent show when we consider all the factors that can and usually do effect air shows. Number one is of course the weather, then comes display performers, static aircraft on display, and the volunteers and the Directors or the people in charge of the event. In fact it was the best show when compared to recent shows in southern Ontario.
The weather was far from the greatest on Media day and the Hour of Power was a bit delayed, in fact it rained on or off all day. The Hour of Power started by welcoming speeches from dignitaries and the presentation of colours by Veterans and Air Cadets. The flying started with Sean D. Tucker and his Oracle Challenger III, with an incredible teaser performance for the weekend. Sean Tucker is a flying icon at air shows, a world class aerobatic pilot, and a perfect gentlemen. The B-17 performed as well however, the CF-18 could not; it was rumoured there were some technical issues. Since there was only one CF-18 without the usual second CF-18B as backup in case of issues, everybody hoped that for whatever reason it did not fly would be resolved for Saturday's and Sunday's show. It was.
The cuts imposed on the US Department of Defense by the Congressional budget sequestration have done what: ground U.S. air power. The Defense Department has cancelled military aircraft participation at air shows and other public events across the globe that included even the Paris Air Show. It was a real challenge for the organizers for 2013 to line up top performers and static aircraft. While the performers were impressive that included the Canadian iconic Snowbirds, CF-18, Sean D. Tucker, Harvard Aircraft Formation Team, CAF Red Tail Mustang P-51C, CAF B-17G Sentimental Journey, WWI replica aircraft from Great War Flying Museum, the static was a bit short when compared to the previous years at St. Thomas, as there were several no shows due to the weather.

So why was it best if it was smaller than before and when compared to recent and larger air shows in Hamilton's or Waterloo?

The volunteer staff and the organizers were a lot more friendlier with the "what can we do for you attitude" without any snarky comments, thus hospitality goes a long ways. But apart from the friendly smiling faces, the performers besides the Snowbirds and the CF-18, performed instead of just going up making one loop and land. The RCAF had the CT-142 "Gonzo", the CT-145-King Air, and the CT-156 Harvard II as static and the Canadian Forces Static Display Representative of the Units within 31 CBG including St. Thomas’s own 31 Combat Engineer Regiment. Other static displays included the Dornier Do 27-H2 the world’s only flying example of this superb design, two Bucker BU 131 Jungmann, and several other single engine aircraft. There were the typical food vendors with reasonable prices, and plenty of well dispersed portable sanitation facilities. A lens in the 300mm range provide good photo opportunity.

As mentioned the weather hampered the attendance a bit on Saturday, but cleared up nicely by the start of the display performances, and it was very sunny and humid. Sunday's weather was better with cooler temperatures. As for the actual displays Sean D. Tucker dazzled the crows with his one-of-the-kind performance, what he does in the air with his special Oracle Challenger III is unbelievable! The Heritage Flight with the Harvard and the Red Tail P-51C Mustang, piloted by Greg Burnard and Bill "Shep" Shepard respectively, that was a real crowd pleaser along with the B-17G from Arizona. There was a Hercules SAR demonstration over the wheat field, and several other displays. For a change, it was not the Snowbirds that ended the show, instead it was the CF-18 Demo. Over all it was an excellent show!

ASR Media LLC., would like to thank Hugh Shields, Show Director, and his wonderful organizers, all the volunteers, special thanks goes out to Oracle Team, Bill "Shep" Sheppard of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, Greg Burnard of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association for their support and lets not forget Allen Weatherall, Media Director.
Participants were:
  • Snowbirds
  • CF-18 Demo Team
  • Canadian Harvard Aircraft Formation Team
  • Sean D. Tucker Oracle Challenger III
  • CAF Red Tail P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen
  • CAF B-17G Sentimental Journey
  • Manfred Radius glider
  • BAC Strikemaster
  • L-29 Delfin
  • Heritage Flight
  • CC-130H SAR Demo
  • WWI aircraft from the Great War Flying Museum
  • and may more on static...
Rating: 9 out of 10

Photography and report by ASR MEDIA LLC
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