Airshow London

2020     2019     2018     2017

Airshow London - 2019 - C-5M Galaxy

 

Airshow London is an annual event held at the London International Airport (CYXU) in London, Ontario.  Reborn in 2016, the event maintains a focus on modern military aviation but also features local aerobatic acts and vintage jets.  The lighting and proximity to movement areas present the opportunity for high quality pictures while aircraft taxi, takeoff, perform and land.  The multiple day show includes an evening display on Friday night, providing gorgeous golden light conditions and lots of burners at dusk.  

2020

 
Airshow London - 2020 - USAF Thunderbirds

The 2020 show was possibly the best aviation event in Canada in the 21st Century.  Due to the many government restrictions that were in place at the time, Airshow London presented Skydrive, a drive-in style event that only featured aerial performances while prioritizing safety among its guests, volunteers and crews on the ground.  Since they were the only air show in North America that weekend, Skydrive included displays from the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, all four Air Combat Command Demonstration Teams, the C-17 West Coast Demonstration Team and a variety of flypasts from the Royal Canadian Air Force and US military.  

For a more detailed review of this event please visit Checksix - the military aviation online magazine.  

https://www.checksix-online.eu/review/airshows/airshow-london-2020/

2019

 
Airshow London - 2019 - KC-135R Stratotanker

The Snowbirds, SkyHawks, CF-18 Demonstration Team, two previous CF-18 display pilots performing in CT-155 Hawks, a pair of CT-133's honouring RCAF paint schemes and a very special father and son dissimilar two-ship formation combined to make the 2019 edition of Airshow London uniquely Canadian.  The United States presence was also significant and included the A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team in the air and a strong static display highlighted by a Navy F-35C Lightning II and a B-52H Stratofortress from the Global Strike Command.

For a more detailed review of this event please visit Checksix - the military aviation online magazine.  

https://www.checksix-online.eu/review/airshows/london-airshow-2019/

Every so often the stars align and things work out perfectly.  That was the experience I had on Saturday September 14th, one of the most memorable days I've enjoyed at an air show.  The morning started with me jumping from a Short SC.7 Skyvan while attached to a member of the Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration Team SkyHawks.  I was originally the fourth person in line for the three available tandem jump positions therefore I will be forever grateful to the individual who decided not to show up.  As well I must also express my sincerest gratitude to air show organizer Mike Lewis who helped make this moment possible.  After the show, I received an invitation to go flying with friend and air show performer, Mike Tryggvason, in his Giles G-202.  Although it was a tight squeeze to fit in the front of the aircraft, the flight was incredible and I enjoyed my first aerobatic experience complete with loops, rolls and even a high speed stall.

Airshow London - 2019 - Skydive with SkyHawks
Airshow London - 2019 - Flight in Giles 202

2018

 
Airshow London - 2018 - CF-18 Demo Team

Airshow London 2018 overcame many challenges to put on a very spirited show.  In a first of it's kind attempt, the show hosted CF-18 Hornets from CFB Bagotville and F-18E Super Hornets from the World Famous Pukin' Dogs for a training exercise on the arrivals days.  While morning light isn't terrific at London, there was a lot of moisture in the air leading to some very fun photographic opportunities.  Another highlight was the collection of RC and KC-135s, although this shouldn't be a surprise due to it being the favourite aircraft of the operations team.  The carrier-based version of the F-35 was welcomed back, once again joining the show from the VFA-101 Grim Reapers based at Eglin AFB, Florida.  The highlight for many in attendance was the Thursday evening arrival of an F-16 from the 157th Fighter Squadron based at McEntire ANGB in South Carolina.  The pilot, flying alone in the two-seat family model, made multiple passes and found the perfect combination of golden light, vapour and blue sky resulting in stunning pictures.

  

 

 

Airshow London 2017

Airshow London - 2017 - CF-18 Demo Team

I have so many positive things to say about this event.  For starters, although Airshow London returned in 2016, I was unable to attend so this was my first event back in London in over a decade.  London holds a special place for me.  It was my first air show in 1983.  I attended the University of Western Ontario and rented Cessnas from CYXU, taking friends for flights to gain experience as a new pilot.  I even worked here for a short period of time but unfortunately the operation did not succeed.  

While there was a lot of quality military hardware on display, the highlight was definitely the 'Canada 150' CF-18 Demo Hornet.  Arguably the nicest of all the CF-18 display jets, this one was predominantly painted a vibrant, rich Red and sported the Canada 150 logo on its spine in celebration of Canada's 150th year since Confederation.  The aircraft presented beautifully against the clear blue skies that were part of Airshow London that year.  On the topic of weather, unfortunately summer conditions didn't come to southern Ontario until late August in 2017, so this mid-September show was the recipient of 35+ degree celsius temperatures for each day of the event.

Another highlight was the lineup of five fifth-generation fighters on display from the United States.  The first appearance of a Navy F-35C Lightning II outside of the US was complimented nicely by having its siblings from the F-35A Demonstration Team parked next to it for a size comparison.  The C model is significantly larger than the A or B and includes bigger wings, tails, strengthened landing gear and a second nose-wheel tire.  Completing the impressive lineup were two F-22A Raptors from the 325th Fighter Wing based at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

The special Demo Hornet wasn't the only participant from the RCAF, as a rare and soon to be retired CC-115 Buffalo was part of the display and a welcome sight to see one last time.  A CC-177 Globemaster from CFB Trenton took part in the evening show and there was also a nice trio of trainers flying in formation.  Performances from US aircraft that deserve a special mention include the Louisiana ANG F-15s for their top side pass Saturday and burner departure Sunday and the Ohio ANG Stingers who arrived in beautiful light Friday evening, showing off their colour aircraft with multiple passes during the twilight show.