The Courier

Action at the 2022 Cold Lake Air Show – Photo by Mike Luedey

The 2024 Cold Lake Air Show, set to dazzle spectators on July 20th and 21st at 4 Wing Cold Lake, promises to be an extraordinary event, thanks to the meticulous planning and dedication of a remarkable team. The behind-the-scenes efforts of a dedicated crew ensure that the show runs smoothly and leaves a lasting impression on all who attend.

Three such members who help to make this event special are Announcer Ken Hildebrandt, Photographer Mike Luedey, and Event Specialist Steph Stricklen.

Ken Hildebrandt: The Voice of the Air Show

Ken Hildebrandt – Photo by Mike Luedey

Ken Hildebrandt, the announcer for the Cold Lake Air Show, is the voice that brings the event to life.

“My role is to announce the air show, telling audiences all about the great flying action in the skies over CFB Cold Lake as well as the dynamic events and activities happening on the ground. I have the privilege of sharing the stories of the pilots flying in the show, talking about the work that goes on at Cold Lake to support our nation’s defence, and supporting guest narrators however needed.”

This will be Ken’s third year at the microphone for the air show.

“It’s always great working alongside the personnel of CFB Cold Lake to tell the story of the RCAF and the Canadian Forces, all while inspiring young and old to pursue their dreams, whatever they might be. The organization of the event, along with the hospitality and support is top-notch.”

“The show attracts military & civilian performers and aircraft from across North America, and in this year’s case, Europe! It’s a real privilege to be a part of this show, and why I love coming back year after year.”

Mike Luedey in action – Photo from Yellow Drum Productions / Facebook

Mike Luedey: Capturing the Essence of the Air Show 

Photographer Mike Luedey is tasked with capturing the dynamic essence of the Cold Lake Air Show. His photographs not only document the event but also convey the energy and thrill of the aerial displays, both on the ground and in the air.

“I’m an experienced aviation photographer with several years of experience working alongside the RCAF, including our Canadian Forces Snowbirds, with who I’m an honorary member, and the CF-18 Demo Team. My experience includes photography on hot ramps at air shows, commercial airports and Canadian Forces Bases.”

“My objective is to capture as much of the show setup, aircraft arrivals, static displays, flying demos and crowd engagement as possible. I also take on any special requests that might need attention.”

Luedey was first at the Cold Lake Air Show in 2016, and his passion for the event is unquestionable.

“I remember it well as I flew out the day after my son was born (my wife is remarkable). That would make this coming summer my 4th consecutive show in Cold Lake!”

“I think being able to attend a show at the Wing is pretty special. Being able to engage with members of our Armed Forces, getting a look at where they work and what they do is something everyone should have a chance to experience. As for the show, they work so hard to bring a packed ramp, great sponsors, vendors and of course, a stacked list of performers.”

“For me, the show is made even more special when you get to work with the great people who call 4 Wing home. They treat me like part of their family and make sure you know that your contributions and partnership are always valued.”

Steph Stricklen: An Orchestrator of Excellence

Steph Stricklen with 4 Wing Commander, Colonel Dave Turenne – Photo by Mike Luedey

Event Specialist Steph Stricklen is part of the backbone of the Cold Lake Air Show’s organization, ensuring every element comes together seamlessly.

“My role is varied and involves doing different things at different times of the year. In the months leading up to the show I help the team maintain and grow their relationships with military and civilian performers, support services, and airshow industry thought leaders. I’m available year-round to assist the air show team, as I have two air shows of my own in addition to supporting a dozen shows across the continent.”

“Once the event is underway, I assist the 4 Wing Cold Lake public affairs team in gathering interviews for local media, conduct social media live interviews with follower interaction, pop up to the announcer stand for on-site interviews, and coordinate with staff videographers and photographers to capture the best possible content.”

Stricklen is a veteran of four Cold Lake Air Shows and says the reputation it has built with performers is part of the reason it is such a success with audiences.

“What’s unique is how many American performers and statics want to fly the show. Airshows in the United States often have to plead for support, but Cold Lake has assets lining up upon departure saying, ‘We’ll be back in two years if you’ll have us.’ The crew hosting, led by Warrant Officer Frank Cyr, is top notch and everyone has a blast, which makes it an easy sell for these statics and performers.”

“As someone who supports a lot of air shows and performers, in addition to leading educational seminars and writing for industry trade publications, I can say with good authority this show is something special. The level of communication and camaraderie, especially for a military show, pays off in a well-organized, nimble, and rewarding event that allows the local community and well-beyond to come on-base and take in a world-class air show. This show is among the best of the best and I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of something so special.”

Bringing It All Together 

The success of the 2024 Cold Lake Air Show is a testament to the dedication and expertise of individuals like Ken Hildebrandt, Mike Luedey, and Steph Stricklen. Each brings their unique skills and passion to the event, ensuring that spectators experience a show that is not only spectacular but also flawlessly executed.

Secure your spot at the 2024 Cold Lake Air Show today by purchasing tickets at the official Cold Lake Air Show website.

The Cold Lake Air Show is pleased to be in partnership with our Transportation Sponsor, L3Harris Technologies!

The preceding text is a paid endorsement for the 2024 Cold Lake Air Show.

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