Sept.14/15 air show set for Yarmouth

Carla Allen
Published on September 8, 2013

Gary Ward is one of many features lined up for the Sept. 14/15 Yarmouth International Airport Air Experience.

The line-up for the Yarmouth International Airport Air Experience on Sept. 14/15 is a veritable powerhouse.

The air show is the only one in the province to feature the top three Royal Canadian Air Force display teams this summer: the Snowbirds 431 demonstration squadron, the national CF-18 demonstration team, and the SkyHawks parachute team.

Civilian acts include Pete McLeod Aerosports, Gary Ward Airshows and Glory Days Jet Dragster. There will also be static displays.

Event co-chair Linda Deveau says the planning committee is excited about the line-up.

“Pete and Gary are fabulous and who doesn't like the smoke and noise of the jet car,” she said.

The static display will be called “Wings and Wheels" and the committee will be showcasing several types of participants, including planes, motorcycles, drag cars, and antique cars in the venue.

Ward, from Lincolnton, Georgia, will be performing unlimited aerobatic routines in his high performance MX2 aircraft.

The monoplane is constructed entirely of aerospace quality carbon fiber making it very strong, powerful and highly maneuverable. It will be performing many extreme maneuvers that most airplanes aren't capable of.

Ward is almost a regular in Canada having performed in Yarmouth in 2009, Halifax in 2010, Summerside, P.E.I. in 2011 and Quesnel, B.C. in 2012. He will also be performing this year at Boundary Bay near Vancouver, BC and at Miramichi, N.B.

The 72-year-old says he’s “very excited” to be returning for another air show in Yarmouth and that he has the “dubious distinction” of being one of the older pilots still performing high performance aerobatics.

“I try not to use my age as an advantage over the younger guys and girls. Fortunately for me, I am still in excellent health and during my performance I will pull between nine and 10 positive Gs and five negative Gs. And I will be doing some of the wildest and craziest maneuvers you will ever see an airplane perform,” he said.

A typical performance starts with a short takeoff followed immediately by a roll to inverted and a push up on a 45 degree inverted climb then a flip turn back to show center. The performance is packed with wild variations of all the basic aerobatic maneuvers with the focus on maneuvers that an airplane doesn't normally do.

Maneuvers such as “torque rolling tail slides”, tumbling maneuvers sometimes know as Lomcovaks, inverted flat spin, knife edge spin, a power off tail slide into an outside microloop and knife edge passes have been part of past performances.

Ward has a distinct memory from the 2009 Yarmouth show. After finishing his performance he walked over to visit with the spectators. A lady came up to him and said, “You know, I was expecting to see someone much younger get out of the plane.”

“It was meant as a compliment and that is the way I took it. I certainly hope she reads this and will come out again this year,” he said.

At the other end of the age scale, Pete McCloud, a Canadian from London, Ontario, is one of the youngest performers in the business. He’ll be flying an Edge 540. Ward refers to him as an outstanding air show pilot and says the event is a chance for people to come out and see the young and the old go head to head.

Friday, Sept.13 is press day and practice day. On Saturday, Sept. 14, the show runs 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept.15, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Walk-ins are $5/day, children under five are free. Private vehicles (up to seven seats) are $25 inc. passengers.