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Message from the President on the eve of the air show

We are all looking forward to the Aero Gatineau-Ottawa air show this weekend, and the many happy memories it recalls. At the end of each summer, we are fortunate to be able to participate in a wonderful event.

The return of our event after all the hardships related to the pandemic, the numerous confinements and restrictions, the new vaccine control measures… is a real little miracle. It is therefore a real pleasure and a great pride for our 100% volunteer team to offer you this moment of escape and pleasure so well deserved.

Organizing an air show is very complex. We were informed a few weeks ago that the F16 pilot had suffered injuries and was unable to perform. The USAF offered the F22 fighter as a replacement which was confirmed last week. To ensure the safety of modern high-performance jets, it is essential to have a diversion airfield in case of a problem. For the USAF F-22, this airfield must be within 75 nautical miles and have at least one arresting cable system. In this area, Gatineau’s runway is too short and has no arresting cables; Ottawa has no arresting cables; Trenton is too far. The only option was Mirabel, which is just within range and has arresting cables.

In the past, Mirabel was an acceptable alternative, and it wasn’t until this past weekend that we were informed that due to operational limitations, they would not be able to deploy the arresting equipment during the time slots we needed. So, despite the best efforts of the RCAF and the USAF Demonstration Team, we were unable to find a satisfactory solution, and it was with great regret that the Demonstration Team had to withdraw.

However, 90% of our programming remains; a great show with several amazing acts, including our own F18 with its impressive power and noise. This is the first time in 2 years in Quebec that we have had the chance to see a full demonstration of the CF18 and the Snowbirds.

We will be showing a lot of aircraft, but there is no better aerobatic team in the world than our Snowbirds who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year – go ahead and enjoy it.

I hope to see you all this weekend,

John Bennett, president of Aero Gatineau-Ottawa.