Monday, June 21, 2010

The wild blue yonder

My sons and I attended the Waterloo Aviation Expo and Airshow on Sunday, organized by the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre.

We’ve attended various aviation events at the local airport over the years and always enjoyed ourselves. This year was every bit as fun, though the drive to the event was tough going. The announced crowd of 30,000 was easy to understand after enduring the heavy traffic. Having said that, the slow-going drive was mitigated by seeing several planes flying overhead. The Sabre, MiG 15, and Corsair all looked impressive from our vantage point stopped in traffic on the road. At the site itself, four vintage Harvards made an impressive roar as they flew by, and we viewed the improbable spectacle of a plane landing on top of a small truck!

While the aerial displays are exciting, we’ve always enjoyed the ground displays as well. Over the years, my boys and I have been inside several historic aircraft, including a Lancaster, a Flying Fortress, and a Catalina, and have talked to a few pilots about their experiences. This year it felt like we saw fewer planes up close on the ground, though the Silver Star, Sea Bee, and Jet Provost were all cool.

Alas, we didn’t see the Snowbirds perform (though we saw them on the ground), as my youngest two sons made it clear that they were ready to leave before they flew. We headed home, with me feeling somewhat like a dad who leaves a baseball stadium after the seventh inning stretch in a tie game, just to beat the traffic!

I know that there are larger and more impressive air shows in the world (some of which I’d like to get to some day), but the Waterloo show is a real treat and it’s just the right size for my young sons. What a great way to have spent Father’s Day this year.

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