Red Deer Regional Airshow returned with a bang this past weekend.
Thousands of people attended the event on Saturday and Sunday. This was the first airshow held at the Red Deer Regional Airport in Springbrook in 20 years.
“It was an incredible show. It was 20 years in the making. The community has wanted the airshow to come back. It was such a privilege to bring it back to the community,” said Nancy Paish, airport director of business development and communications.
“We had a small team and a short turnaround time for the show. We announced it would be coming last year – to be able to come and see the fruition of all of the hard work was absolutely incredible.”
The event featured a props and pistons show and shine, food trucks, a kids’ zone, vendor market and flying displays. Among the flying displays were the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Historic Harvard Vintage P-40 Kittyhawk, P-51 Mustangs and pylon race demonstrations.
Brandon Dietz flew his Cessna 172 from Vulcan to take in the Red Deer Regional Airshow.
The plane, which he purchased just a couple of years ago, features a space-themed wrap, which was a popular sight for many of the children passing by.
“I actually bought this plane, did my flight training and my licence with it,” he said.
“I always wanted to fly. My dad has his licence – it expired on him for quite a few years. He went back to get it again and I was interested in going into the air too.
“When you’re in the air, it’s freeing. There’s no traffic, there’s nothing up there. I can go wherever I want to go.”
Dietz said his plan was to head to the Lethbridge International Airshow on Sunday.
Dennis Fox, of High River, flew his home-built Van’s RV-8A two-seater airplane to Red Deer to take in the airshow on Saturday as well.
“It’s all built from a kit. I finished it in 2017 and have been flying it ever since,” Fox said, adding he got his licence in the early 1980s right in Red Deer.
“Being in the air and off the ground, you get such a great 3D view of everything. It’s challenging at times and certainly challenging to learn. It’s a great way to travel too.”
Fox said he remembers taking in previous Red Deer airshows back in the 1980s.
Members of the team that organized this year’s airshow will soon meet to discuss the event’s future, said Paish.
“As a team and as a staff we’re going to sit down and evaluate it to see how we can continue this, what the resources are and what the community wants,” Paish said.
“We’re starting our airport expansion. We want to be really cognizant about what the construction’s going to look like over the next year and what the impact could potentially be.”
Paish also said the event wouldn’t have been possible without sponsors, volunteers and the community as a whole.