The Courier

Fans exit the rear of the C-5M Super Galaxy at the 2022 Cold Lake Air Show – Photo by Mike Marshall/ Courier News 

The 2022 Cold Lake Air Show is being called a tremendous success by organizers as well as guests and performers.

An estimated 27,000 people took in displays of aircraft, aerial performances, tasty food, and more over July 16th and 17th. Cold Lake Air Show Committee Chair Major Kael Rennie is happy with the turnout.

“27,000 is the largest attendance we’ve had over the two-day event since we started doing online ticket sales in 2016. This is the biggest show since at least 2004.”

The 2022 Cold Lake Air Show was a long wait for some fans, as the last time 4 Wing played host to a celebration of aviation was 2018, due to the COVID-19 outbreak canceling plans for the 2020 edition. Rennie said the wait may have been why so many guests were eager to return.

“In 2018, which was the last time we had hosted the Air Show, we saw just under 23,000 guests. We chalk the increase in attendance to four years of not having an Air Show, people were wanting to get out after COVID, as well as the popularity of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and even the weather, which cooperated.”

This year’s exhibition of aviation featured performing guests including the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team and the famous Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. Also taking to the skies to wow the crowd was the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks, Kyle Fowler in his Long EZ, Gord Price on what he is calling his “Retirement Tour” in his Yak-50, a demonstration of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone and the CF-18 Demo Team, flown by 4 Wing’s own Captain Jesse Haggart-Smith.

“There’s something magical about aviation,” said F-22 Demo Pilot Major Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson. “Whether it’s a young child or maybe a veteran who has served or just the general public who may have never been in an airplane before; It draws people in. I like being able to share that experience with other people.”

“Our show is a humble show,” explained Snowbird 9 Pilot Major Steve Hurlbut, when asked to describe why he thinks the Snowbirds are such a popular attraction in Canada. “We try to make our aircraft move more like a ballet, instead of with raw noise and power. I think it’s the grace of the routine that appeals to people, and we’ve been here for over 50 years now.”

Several awards were handed out by the Cold Lake Air Show Committee after Sunday had wrapped up. Notable winners included:

  • Best Aerial Demonstration: F-22 Raptor Demo Team
  • Best Military Static Display: C-5 Super Galaxy
  • Best Civilian Static Display: F1 Rocket (owned by David Deere)
  • Best Supporting Unit: KC-135 Stratotanker
  • CLAS Choice Award: Security Team for the F-22 Raptor

The Air Show runs on a two-year cycle, and Rennie explained that means the 2024 Cold Lake Air Show will align with a very special anniversary.

“It lines up perfectly with the 100th anniversary of the RCAF. We’ll be looking at celebrating that in 2024 and hopefully inviting some international guests to come to Canada and celebrate.”

The Cold Lake Air Show wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing sponsors! Here are just some that the air show committee gives their heartfelt thanks to for support:

The City of Cold Lake, Inter Pipeline Ltd., Canadian Natural, MD of Bonnyville, EllisDon Construction Services Inc., Cenovus Energy, Enbridge Pipelines, Imperial Oil, L3 Technologies Mas, Town of Bonnyville, RCAF Honorary Colonel Cadre, B&R Eckels Transport Ltd., Pattison Outdoor, Stingray Radio, Windspeaker Media, and Cold Lake Bus Lines.

Be sure to see the full list of the sponsors on the Cold Lake Air Show website.

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