Class A lineup for Skyfest 2015

Discovery Channel's Airshow a real nail-biter next show features Quesnel Skyfest

Having few expectations, I tuned into Discovery Channel’s Airshow for the first time last week and was instantly transported to Quesnel airport 2013. The crowds, (all eyes skyward), the planes coming and going with style and flair and of course the announcer who keeps everyone keyed up as each amazing aerial trick is executed.

But what I wasn’t expecting was to actually get up close and personal with the pilots, wing walkers, air boss and a myriad of other people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a safe, smooth show.

Now that I have two episodes under my belt, I’m starting to see the trend. The feature pilot is SuperDave Matheson, a favourite at Quesnel’s Skyfest 2013 who will be returning for Skyfest 2015 this year. The cameras follow SuperDave to various air shows where he experiences different issues with his plane, as well as the other pilots and ground crews.

We, as the audience, are in the plane with the pilots, we see the turns and tumbles of the plane and hear the voice of the pilot as he coordinates with the ground crews, the air boss and sometimes as the pilot talks to himself of what’s going on.

It’s exhilarating, frightening, nail-biting footage that holds the audience spell-bound.

We also learn of some of the aerial obstacles pilots face given different weather conditions, altitude issues and technical glitches that place pilots and planes in imminent  danger. We watch as the pilot tries to circumvent these obstacles and sometimes accepts an unexpected return to the tarmac before disaster ensues.

On Monday, Feb. 9, Airshow features footage from Skyfest 2013 where familiar landscape, show scenes and background angst brings Airshow to our own backyard (or airport as is the case).

I was hooked the first five minutes of the first show I watched and I’m looking forward to see what they feature at our very own airshow.

This year, Skyfest 2015 will not only feature the wildly popular SuperDave, Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 but also new to Quesnel, young Stefan Trischuk in his two-seater tricked out custom-built Pitts Special X2C biplane; Tinstix of Dynamite with explosive pyro shows; jet trucks; Franklin’s Flying Circus with their one-of-a-kind biplane solo and a comedy act like no other; Manfred Radius who performs with his sailplane (also called a glider) to classical music; Jon Melby, with more than 35 years experience, entrances the crowd in his Pitts S-1-11B bi-plane; and a couple more as yet not confirmed.

Already Airshow 2015, which will again be filmed by Discovery Channel, is shaping up to be a memorable event. Tickets are already available and if you hurry and buy them online at www.quesnelskyfest.ca before Feb. 14, Family passes are just $35.

Don’t forget to pick up your Skyfest calendar for just $5 at various locations around the community including tourist bureaus in Quesnel, Williams Lake and Prince George, the Quesnel Legion, Quesnel Art Gallery, SPCA, Circle ‘S’ Western Wear, McKelvie Financial, Karin’s Deli, Tower Inn, Seniors’ Centre and Benjamin Moore Paints or from any Skyfest director, the Flying Club or local Air Cadets. This calendar is not only an ideal way to preview some of the performers as well as the perfect souvenir to collect signatures and memories at this year’s Skyfest.

As you watch the remaining episodes of Airshow, conjure up the images of fantastic flyers and their amazing aerial acrobatics over the blue sky of Quesnel. Can you imagine!