Like a flurry of horns signalling the harbinger of doom, the CF-18 Hornet is a force to be reckoned with. With the ear splitting clash of Titans that resounds through every fibre in the body, the supersonic blast of such a formidable war machine flying directly overhead at 1,000 km/h at just 300 feet is an experience like no other. In a flash it's gone.
The RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) currently operates 103 such aircraft as of 2008. One peculiar aspect of the CF-18 that sets it apart from other countries that have the F/A-18 in their armed forces, is its painted false canopy intended to disorient potential foes during air-to-air combat. The United States Marines and Spanish Air Force quickly copied this idea with their own fleets of F/A-18s.
This was just one of the incredible experiences that were put on display at Whitecourt’s Hometown Heroes Airshow on July 23rd and 24th. This was Whitecourt’s 4th locally held airshow.
Death-defying is more the rule then the exception as various aerial acrobatics teams, including the critically acclaimed Snowbirds famed for their breathtaking choreographed manoeuvres at neck breaking speeds, displayed their prowess in the crystalline blue skies over the weekend.
This year's performance was dedicated to all the emergency personnel (police, fire, EMS and military) who work tirelessly day in and day out. Their herculean efforts have throughout this summer helped turn the tide as they heroically battled the Fort McMurray inferno.
The airshow would have never gotten off the ground without its magnitude of volunteers who generously gave their time over the weekend to ensure the major event ran smoothly and effectively. This year there were 125 such volunteers.
One volunteer, Nancy Johnson, has been involved in helping with the airshow since the beginning and was super excited for the big event. She said this year’s airshow was the biggest yet in Whitecourt.
“It brings people together from all over. This year’s airshow provided an entertaining event with many stunning performances,” says volunteer Cindy Brooks. “I look forward to seeing the expressions on the children's faces as they gaze up to the skies in wonderment. It’s so rewarding for everyone.”
The men and women of the RCAF have a rich history that spans all the way back to the Second World War. The RCAF have served prominently in all theaters of war since, having assisted in several NATO missions as well, the most recent being the civil war in Syria.
Whitecourt is fortunate to have hosted such an incredible display of aerial mastery from all the performers that partook in this year's Airshow that was a full two years in the making.