Saskatchewan

Planes prepare to dazzle Moose Jaw as air show's 14-year hiatus comes to an end

Prairie skies will come alive this weekend at 15 Wing airbase in Moose Jaw as the Saskatchewan Air Show lifts off the ground for the first time in 14 years.

The show is scheduled to continue every 2 years

Gates for the show open at 9 a.m. and the show will start at noon. Tickets are available online and at the gates. (Christy Climenhaga/CBC)

Prairie skies will come alive this weekend at 15 Wing airbase in Moose Jaw as the Saskatchewan Air Show lifts off the ground for the first time in 14 years.

The show, featuring a spectacular line-up such an F-16CM Fighting Falcon, CF-18 Hornet and a restored Supermarine Spitfire, will go on rain or shine, said Maj. Regan Wickett, one of the organizers.

"I'm pretty biased but I think they're gonna put on one of the best shows in North America this year," Wickett said.

He said the show will continue on an ongoing basis every two years. The Snowbirds, who usually open and close their seasons in Moose Jaw, will once again take to the sky for an air show in front of a hometown crowd. 

"For them, it's a huge emotional event," Wickett said.

Maj. Regan Wickett expects there will be about 20,000 spectators on hand each day to witness the aerial acrobatics. (Christy Climenhaga/CBC)

The show will also feature two pilots, David and Drew Watson, whose father got them into planes, took them to air shows and sold one of them a plane.

The brothers' routine will not be unlike that of the Snowbirds, said Drew, a pilot of 17 years. It'll feature loops, rolls and aerial acrobatics using formations.

"There's a little bit of sibling rivalry going," Drew added.

"It is scary to look at when you're down on the ground and you've never seen [a show] before or it's been a while," said David, lead pilot for the show with 34 years of flying experience.

David (left) and Drew (right) Watson are brothers and pilots who will be performing at the air show together. (Christy Climenhaga/CBC)

The two-day event is expected to bring more than 20,000 spectators. Gates open 9 a.m. CST Saturday and the show itself will start at noon.

Tickets are available online and at the gate but no admission will be given after 2 p.m.

The last time the show took to the air, two pilots from the U.S. were killed in a mid-air collision. Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Youkin, members of a civilian acrobatic team Masters of Disaster, were performing with one other pilot when the two men died.

With files from CBC's Christy Climenhaga

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