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The wait is over! Come Celebrate 70 years of Canadian Air Force History

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2013 AIR SHOW

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community what the men Local response Some the grea and of women in uniform do and and what we are capavery positive to ble of, and able to Ca show Home Health idea of resuming pride in our efforts.” He said planning for itemsshow you will fin air show began shortly after Erin Haluschak Record Staff

returning to the include: Wing commander.

base as

“I was thrilled when I A third time might be the heard I was coming back charm for 19 Wing Comox’s to Comox. I thought about Wing Comwhat I would mander Col. like to do in It’s an oppor- my tenure, Jim Benninger. After more tunity to showcase and I didn’t than two years to the community have to learn of planning a lot about the since his third what the men and area because posting to CFB women in uniform I knew the Comox in June do and what we community 2011, Benwell.” are capable of, and quite ninger’s plan to He added host the Comox able to show pride shortly after Air Show is in our efforts. taking over near compleCol. Jim Benninger the position, tion. he began “It has been talking with a lot of work, but the plan- civic leaders and passed ning and organization has around the idea of organizreally come together,” he ing an air show. explained. “It’s an oppor“The response was tunity to showcase to the See MILITARY, page 3

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CFB COMOX’S WING commander says he appreciates the co-operation of other organizations to make the air show a success. FILE PHOTO

COMOX VALLEY RECORD • TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013

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Military, civilians present Static and flying displays include DC-3, Spitfire, WWII Harvard instantly positive and it energizes me to explore the idea further and what was involved,” he explained, and added there were four major components which had to come together for the show to happen: timing, funding, manpower and community support. Benninger said he knew 19 Wing Comox has the infrastructure and the air force acts required for a show, and the “planning started in earnest” shortly after last years’ Abbotsford Air Show. After receiving official approval by the federal government, Benninger noted there was no time to spare, and created a compressed planning schedule. He added there will be a good mix of both Royal Canadian Air Force and civilian aircraft. “It’s a great way to showcase our equipment to Canadians and the Comox Valley,” and noted he is “really excited” to see the C-17 Globemaster from CFB Trenton. There will be static and flying displays, including a DC-3, a Spitfire, a Second

World War Harvard aircraft and Dan Buchanan, a paraplegic glider pilot. “The quality of the show makes me very pleased and excited. It will rival or surpass the Abbotsford show,” he added. As for funding, Benninger explained seed money came from the base fund, which is money collected from the use of Canex and funds left over from previous air shows. He added while there is modest public funding for the Armed Forces Day event and outreach, the non-public funds for the show are coming directly from the base fund. The two sources of revenue are ticket sales, which he hopes will be between $200,000 to $300,000, and sponsorship, both from products-in-kind and cash to pay for expenses. Benninger also credits other organizations for working with his organizing team. He notes the support of the Comox Valley Airport Commission, as they are creating a designated passenger shuttle for commercial passengers who will continue to fly out of the air terminal, but will not be boarding their planes in the usual location near the terminal — that area is designated for air show

parking. “We knew what we needed (for passengers and parking) and designed a tabletop exercise on how it will work,” explained Benninger. “It’s a bit like a board game and it’s really helpful to have a visual representation. I feel confident in our planning.” He added his team has also been working with BC Transit to encourage patrons to utilize the ‘park and ride’ system, but hopes the airfield parking along with the increase in signage and detailed plans will aid with traffic flow. In addition to the aircraft, Benninger explained the contemporary Winnipeg-based RCAF band Jet Stream will end the air show with a concert. Former fighter pilot, member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and Comox resident James (Stocky) Edwards will be featured throughout the show, and will sign autographs. For more information on the events featured or ticket information for the Comox Air Show, visit www. comoxairshow.ca.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com


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2013 AIR SHOW

TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

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CF-18 Hornet top of jet world Scott Stanfield Record Staff

Capt. Patrick (Flocho) Pollen will tear up the sky in a solo tactical demonstration inside a CF-18 Hornet at the Comox Air Show. He says the aircraft is at the “top of the jet world,” capable of speeds exceeding 2,000 km/h. He notes “not much of contrast” between the CF-18 and the Tutor jet flown by the Snowbirds. The former is a frontline fighter jet while the latter is a trainer. “We were in combat with it not more than a year and a bit ago,” Pollen said from Fort. St. John during a tour with his demonstra-

tion team, which consists of four technicians and himself. There is an East Coast and West Coast team, each with four techs. From the pilot to the maintenance crews to the co-ordinators, the team personifies the excellence required to keep the Royal Canadian Air Force among the best aviation organizations in the world, he said. This year’s theme is dubbed The Common Thread to inspire people to pause and think about what it means to be Canadian. To embody the theme, the demo Hornet displays tail and dorsal art representing the diversity of Canada through symbols such as Terry Fox, a moose and an RCMP officer. The

A CF-18 HORNET will howl through the sky during the Comox Air show.

jet also contains each provincial and territorial flag, and the national anthem in both official languages. The artwork was created

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flag that is on the back, the spine of the aircraft and both of the tails,” Pollen said.

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Snowbirds love flying in the Valley Erin Haluschak Record Staff

The show will be crisper, tighter and the formations will be well-practised when the Snowbirds Demonstration Team returns to familiar territory for the Comox Air Show. Coming back to the Comox Valley after their annual May practice here, Capt. Thomas Edelson, public affairs officer for the team, said those with a sharp eye might be able to tell the differences in the show from earlier this year. “The show is just a bit shorter, only by one minute. (The pilots) are all in really good flying shape,” he said on the road from Fort St. John as the team criss-crosses North Amer-

ica. He said the team is really excited to return to familiar grounds at CFB Comox, where annual training takes place in the spring. “(The team) is familiar with the area, we know the best places to go, the best places to eat; it’s kind of like a second home.” Edelson noted the team has a lot of appreciation for the Comox Valley, and said the area truly has a dedicated amount of fans. “We even have more fans from the Comox area on our Facebook page than anywhere else,” he added. Edelson said it has been a busy flying season for the Snowbirds team, and they are currently through the western swing of their schedule.

COMOX VALLEY RECORD • TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013

THE SNOWBIRDS DEMONSTRATION team has more Facebook fans in the Comox Valley than anywhere else, so they should be a big hit during the 2013 Comox Air Show.

He noted one memory from the season that stands out was Canada Day on Parliament Hill, where the team met a large crowd of people.

For Edelson, he met one person in particular who had a direct connection to the Comox Valley — now-retired astronaut and commander of the Interna-

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tional Space Station (ISS), Chris Hadfield. During practice in Comox, Edelson worked with Hadfield to arrange for him to take a photo

from space of the Snowbirds’ rare 11-plane team formation along with the CF-18 Hornet from the ISS. “It was really good to meet him.” said Edelson.

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SEARCH AND RESCUE Technicians parachute during an exercise at CFB Comox. At right is a C-17 that will appear at this year’s Comox Air Show.   PHOTOS COURTESY 19 WING COMOX

2013 AIR SHOW

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

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Let someone else do the driving to the air show You can take the bus to take a bus to get on the the Comox Air Show. base,” said Edwin Grieve, BC Transit and the CVRD board chair. Comox Valley Regional DisThe 2013 Comox Armed trict (CVRD) are providing Forces Day and Air Show special bus service to CFB celebrates 70 years of Comox on Aug. 17. Canadian Air Force history The air show service will in the Comox Valley. operate from 8:30 a.m. to Thrill seekers will flock to 7 p.m. see the CF-18 DemonstraThe Air Show via Comox tion Team and the beloved Centre Mall will start at Snowbirds Air DemonstraCliffe Avenue and Fourth tion Squadron in action. Street in Courtenay. A sec- Plus all ages will marvel ond route, the at vintage aircraft includAir Show Park From the ing a Spitfire, & Ride, will collect passengers outset, we recogB-25D Mitchell “Grumpy” at the Comox nized that traffic and the CasValley Exhibition Grounds congestion will be cade Warand North Island a major factor for birds. “From the College. people attending outset, With trafwe recfic congestion the air show. We ognized that expected to be received trementraffic congestion will high around the dous support be a major air force base/ factor for peoComox Val- from the Comox ley Airport on Valley Regional ple attending Air Show Day, District and BC the air show,” the BC Transit said Maj. service will be Transit to develDwayne Kerr, a vital link for op fast and effiAir Show families who cient artery bus Director. “We are looking for a routes to enable received tremendous supcarefree transportation solu- people to spend port from the tion to attend the less time in trafComox Valshow. fic and more time ley Regional “We are District and pleased to help at this great fam- BC Transit support this pop- ily event. to develop ular community Maj. Dwayne Kerr fast and efficient artery event,” said BC bus routes to Transit president and CEO Manuel enable people to spend less Achadinha. “The BC Tran- time in traffic and more sit service will help reduce time at this great family traffic congestion and event.” will provide a safe, famiFor more information ly-friendly commute to the about routes and schedules, air show.” consult www.bctransit.com/ Transit rides on air show regions/com. shuttles are free and riders — BC Transit are encouraged to make a donation to the Comox Val- YOU SHOULD CONSIDER takley Transit system to support the cost of providing ing public transportation to and from the Comox Air the service. “In May this year, the Show. If you are providing CVRD and BC Transit your own transportation, the introduced improvements map at top will help you get to the system for those who to the site. The other map commute to work at CFB will help you get around Comox, and now anyone once you arrive. attending the air show can


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2013 AIR SHOW

TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

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Airport ready for huge crowd Erin Haluschak Record Staff

At the height of summer travel season, an estimated 30,000 people will visit the Comox Valley Airport — although just a small number of those will actually board a plane. On Aug. 17, the Comox Air Show will welcome thousands of spectators to CFB Comox, and the Comox Valley Airport has a plan in place to ensure commercial passengers can get in and out of Comox smoothly. “We’ve definitely learned some good lessons from the last air show,” explained Fred Bigelow, CEO of the Comox Valley Airport Commission. “The regularly scheduled flights are all going to go ahead as planned.” Bigelow explained as part of the Comox Air Show, which is scheduled for Aug. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., a section of the airfield will

be shut down to accommodate spectators and visiting aircraft. The parking lot area where attendees will be able to park will be located behind the terminal — around the area currently occupied by commercial aircraft for loading and unloading of passengers and cargo. Bigelow said on Aug. 16, 17, and 18 (if needed), passengers, after clearing security, will be bused from the boarding area to their planes, which will be located closer to a 19 Wing aircraft hangar. Because of the extra time needed to bus passengers to and from their flights and to compensate for any traffic delays, Bigelow said passengers should arrive at least two hours ahead of time for any Westjet flight, and at least 1.5 hours ahead of time for Central Mountain Air or Pacific Coastal flights.

THE COMOX VALLEY Airport has a contingency plan to deal with the huge crowd expected at the Comox Air Show this Saturday.

On the day of the air show, the terminal building will be accessed via Military Row during the show, and the entrance will be clearly marked, he added. A special route via Ryan

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VETERANS, SOME OF whom are seen here on Remembrance Day, will have a place of honour at the 2013 Comox Air Show.

Pavilion is for veterans Courtenay Legion hosting breakfast before air show Terry Chester Contributor

Once again, at the Comox Armed Forces Day and Air Show there is a special pavilion tent reserved for veterans and their companions. It is situated, as it was in 2005, right on the flight line, so a view of the entire show can be had whilst sitting in a nice shaded area. Entry to the pavilion for a vet and companion can be gained by producing a veterans’ ticket, or a Record of Service card. Once inside, the veteran will be issued a name tag, and this will also entitle them to a free lunch graciously provided by Quality Foods. The pavilion itself is sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada, and we expect a display in the tent from them plus the Comox Air Force Museum. Courte-

nay Mazda is also assisting in this event. The Royal Canadian Legion is playing a big part in this year’s event by agreeing to host the veterans to a free breakfast at the Courtenay Legion from 9 to 11 a.m. before they come out to the show. There are tickets for this breakfast available at the Legions; if you are not able to pick up a ticket beforehand you are requested to call the Legion and advise them you will be coming. Ron Webber is in charge of this breakfast. After the breakfast, veterans can jump on one of the free city buses that are provided, (on the corner of Fourth and Cliffe) or they can car pool out to the base, where special veterans parking is arranged near the Spitfire hangar (across the road from the Glacier Gardens arena). It will be clearly marked. Those veterans not going to the breakfast can drive directly to this parking area, access to this parking will require a veteran’s ticket or proof of service

card, so it would be best if people obtain their tickets in advance. They are available on-line or at Thrifty’s for $5. From the disembarkation areas, those veterans that require assistance will be shuttled down to the gates. It is recommended for those veterans who need to use the vets’ parking spaces to be there prior to 1100 hours, as they are limited in number and will fill up quickly. Finally, after the air show, the veterans are asked to remain in the pavilion for a while, as members of the public will stop by to meet them. Information on the Air Show and how to get tickets is available online at www.comoxairshow.ca or for more information on the veterans’ program, send an e-mail to terry.chester@ shaw.ca  (or call 250-9414418). Terry Chester is a retired air force colonel who is co-ordinating the veterans’ activities at this Comox Air Show. 

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2013 AIR SHOW

TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Don McRae, MLA Comox Valley Welcome Exhibitors & Visitors to the Comox Air Show. I hope you enjoy the event.

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Air force base began in 1942 Special to the Record

CFB COMOX — 2013 marks 70 years of Canadian Air Force history in Comox. Since its construction, the base has played a major role in the shaping of the Comox Valley. The airfield at Comox was opened as a Royal Air Force base in 1942 to guard against possible Japanese

attack on North America. After operating for a year as an RAF station, it was placed under the control of the Royal Canadian Air Force on May 1, 1943. Throughout the war, the base served primarily as a training establishment for aircrew flying the C-47 Dakota (DC-3). During the Second World War, there were approximately 1,500 people on the base, close to the number of military

members and civilians who work at CFB Comox today. In January 1946, RCAF Station Comox was closed and placed under a care and maintenance program. However, in June 1952, Comox was reactivated as an Air Defence base and starting in 1954, an extensive modernization program took place. Several new buildings were constructed and the main run-

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407 Squadron 61 years old Continued from 12

way was lengthened to its present 10,000 feet. On Canada Day, 1952, 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron was activated, equipped with Lancaster bombers modified for anti-submarine warfare. The following year, the first 150 units of Permanent Married Quarters (PMQs) were completed and occupied. An elementary school for children of RCAF personnel was also built. On Nov. 1, 1954, 409 Nighthawk All-Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron was reactivated at Comox. Also in 1954, 51 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (radar) was formed at Comox as part of the CADIN-Pinetree radar line. In 1964, 121 Composite Unit moved from Sea Island in Vancouver to Comox. This squadron became 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron in 1968. In August 1974, a second Maritime Flying unit, VU 33, moved to Comox from Patricia Bay Airport in Vic-

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toria with three CP-121 Tracker and three Silver Star aircraft. The move of VU 33 to Comox consolidated all military flying activity in British Columbia in Comox. On June 29, 1984, 409 Squadron ceased Voodoo operations at Comox and moved to CFB Cold Lake. In June 1992, VU 33 ceased its operations and the squadron was disbanded. It was only one month later, though, when 414 Squadron moved from North Bay, Ont., to Comox. Ten years later, this squadron was stood down on April 16, 2002, following the retirement of the CT-133 Silver Star the previous month. In May 1993, 19 Air Maintenance Squadron was established to provide operational support to the Wing. From 2002 to 2003, 407 Squadron took part in Operation Apollo to support anti-terrorist surveillance operations over the Persian and Arabian gulfs. From 2003-2011, 19 Wing personnel deployed to

Afghanistan in support of Operation Athena as well as numerous other operations around the world, like Operation Mobile in 2011 above Libya. Today, the two flying squadrons, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron and 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron, supported by 19 Air Maintenance Squadron and a plethora of support trades based at 19 Wing maintain a heavy operational commitment, with an increased focus on joint operations across the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Air show has proud past Capt. Trevor Reid

receives from the surrounding communities by hosting air shows, open houses and other Armed Forces Day activities. In keeping with this year’s theme, we have a variety of Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, as well as historic airplanes from across North America in

craft will be a variety of vintage planes, which will take people back to the early days of military aviaCFB COMOX — The tion in Comox. 2013 Comox Armed ForcOf course, we are lucky es Day and Air Show celeto have the Comox Valbrates 70 years of Canadian ley’s own Wing CommandAir Force history in the er (ret’d) James Francis Comox Valley. (Stocky) Edwards, Canada’s This is the first air show highest-scoring living fightsince 2005, which more er pilot ace than 25,000 people with us today attended. This year’s air show and Armed (see page 15). Given the pent-up We want demand for an air Forces Day is highlighted by the Canaeveryone to show, we’re expecthave a safe ing an even bigger dian Armed Forces Snowbirds and CF-18 Demonstration Team. and memoturnout this year. rable experiThe first air show ence today, so in the Comox Valley was held on June 12, 1954 the sky and on the ground. please don’t forget to wear We also welcome mem- sunscreen, hats and to stay at RCAF Station Comox’s bers of the Canadian Army hydrated by drinking plenAir Force Day. Although the base was and Royal Canadian Navy ty of water. If you’re hungry, there still undergoing significant who have brought vehicles upgrades following its reac- and displays to demon- are a variety of food ventivation as an air defence strate their contributions dors on the base selling everything from hamburgbase in 1952, almost 20,000 to the defence of Canada. This year’s Air Show and ers and sandwiches, to people took in the event that featured flying and Armed Forces Day is high- gyros and stirfry. lighted by the Canadian Remember to stay at the static aircraft displays. Since then, whenever Armed Forces Snowbirds end of the air show to take operations have allowed, 19 and CF-18 Demonstra- in the diverse music of the Wing has shown its appre- tion Team. Joining these Royal Canadian Air Force ciation for the support it high-performance jet air- Band. Special to the Record

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2013 AIR SHOW

JAMES (STOCKY) EDWARDS, Canada’s highest-scoring living fighter pilot ace, will be on hand at the 2013 Comox Air Show.

COMOX VALLEY RECORD • TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013

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2013 AIR SHOW

TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

www.comoxvalleyrecord.com

H o n o u r i n g O u r Ve t e r a n s

Proud to support the 2013 Comox Air Show by providing food and refreshments for our Veterans. Over the years you have provided service above self, and for that we are all eternally grateful. It’s just a small gesture to recognize your contributions and to say “Thank You!”

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See you at the Air Show August 17th

August 13, 2013  

Section Y of the August 13, 2013 edition of the Comox Valley Record

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