- Please note: Pets, hard-sided coolers or smoking are NOT permitted at the air show.
- Parking this year is ON-SITE and FREE, but the distance between the parking lot and the air show area is a minimum of ½ KILOMETRE
What is the Waterloo Air Show all about?
The Waterloo Air Show actually offers four major components: the air show, the aviation expo, the static aircraft display, and family activities. Each are explained below, and together, create a great day's outing for families and aviation enthusiasts.
Tell me more about the air show.
This year marks the 4th Waterloo Air Show and we are thrilled to announce that all three of Canada's military demonstration teams will be present: our headliners, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks (SATURDAY ONLY) and the CF-18 Demonstration Team. Together with historic warbirds, amazing aerobatics, and more, you have one of the best reasons to head to the Region of Waterloo International Airport!
What is the Aviation Expo?
For years, fans of aviation have been coming to the Region of Waterloo International Airport for the annual Aviation Expo, a large selection of aviation-related displays and exhibits that allow the public to discover and explore military and civilian aviation, and related industries, up close. We just punched it up a notch three years ago by adding an air show.
What is the static aircraft display?
A 'static' display at an air show is aircraft, in addition to those flying in the show, that are parked on the tarmac all weekend, allowing the public to get up close to them and take pictures. We've also requested that the pilots and crews of each aircraft spend the day by their planes, to answer questions from the public.
What time do the gates open and what time is the air show?
Gates open at 9am for Air Show Insiders (sign up on the home page) and 10am for the general public to visit the aviation expo and static display. The air show runs daily from 1-4pm. The Snowbirds will close the show.
Can I come out Friday to the airport, to watch the planes as they arrive in Waterloo?
Sure, come on out, but you'll be restricted to public areas (essentially, the airport's parking lot). And please remember to obey all airport rules as posted.
What happens if it rains?
No matter the weather, the gates will always be open for admission. A little rain won't scare the planes away. The good news is, it can rain and still have a high enough cloud ceiling so that the planes will fly. And if the clouds are a little lower than ideal, many performers, including the Snowbirds will do their "low show" rather than their regular "high show."
Will I get my money back if it rains?
Sorry, but there are no refunds for inclement weather.
Is there an opportunity to get performer autographs?
Yes! We are introducing an Autograph Tent this year. Supported by Henry's Camera, look for the branded "Henry's" tent to come and meet the pilots and crews. And staff from Henry's will be available to help you capture the special moment -- take your picture with a performer, develop it on the spot, then you can the performer sign it! For an up-to-date schedule, see the white board at the tent.
Note, the Snowbirds do not plan to use the Autograph Tent, but as usual, will sign autographs along the showline immediately after their performances.
Will there be an ATM machine on site?
Yes, two at the main gate and two more in the vendors area, but we still encourage guests to treat this event as a cash-only event.
When will the aircraft be leaving Waterloo?
Some aircraft will leave Sunday evening, while the others will leave Monday. Note, the Hercules that the SkyHawks jump out of will depart for Trenton daily -- Friday and Saturday -- and return in the morning.
Your Questions Answered - Updated June 1st at 2:39 PM
Are bicycles allowed on air show grounds?
Bicycles are NOT permitted on air show grounds, sorry.
Are there bicycle racks to lock my bike when arriving?
We are unable to offer bike locks at the air show, again sorry.
Can I Pay for My Tickets at the Gate with a Credit Card?
You cannot pay for your gate tickets with a Credit Card. But there are ATMs available at the gate to withdraw cash. We recommend buying your tickets online.
Can I Get a Copy of the Schedule?
Yes, you can get a copy of the Saturday and Sunday Schedule by becoming an Insider.
Is Smoking Permitted at the Air Show?
Because the aircraft contain aviation and jet fuel, smoking is STRICTLY PROHIBITED on air show grounds. Please do not light up!
Are umbrellas or parasols allowed, or are there any shaded areas to sit and enjoy the show?
Yes, personal umbrellas are welcome. But, large parasols and pop-up tents are not permitted. Large tents can easily be carried away, by the wind, creating a safety issue.
Shaded areas are rare at any air show. Please plan accordingly.
Are there any size restrictions on bags, camera and otherwise, allowed into the show?
There are no restrictions on bags (within reason), but your bag may be searched.
There is a policy of no hard coolers.
Is there a show program? If so, what is the cost?
This year the air show decided to create a 14-Month Wall Calendar that features our 2012 (and previous year performers) for $5.00. The calendar also makes a great autograph book.
Are there any aircraft/helicopter rides available?
Yes. The Waterloo/Wellington Flight Centre has sightseeing flights available. Great Lakes Helicopter is offering helicopter rides of the area. These flights will take place before and after the show. No sightseeing flights are permitted during the air show.
Will you have free water refills again?
Like in 2011, we will offer a FREE water station where you can re-fill your water bottle.
Will there be food for purchase?
Yes, there will be concession stands on site.
Can we bring alcohol into the show?
No, you are not permitted to bring alcohol through the gates. Bags and soft-sided coolers may be inspected at the entrances. As an alternative, there will be a Beer Tent on site.
Where do I sit?
There is enough grass space to accommodate several thousand people. And when you're looking up, there's not a bad seat in the house!
Admission / Tickets
Is my General Admission ticket good for either day?
Yes, Saturday OR Sunday, not both.
Does purchasing General Admission tickets online get me preferred parking?
No, purchasing GA tickets online only includes gate admission, not parking.
Are credit cards accepted at the gate?
Sorry, no. There will be 2 ATM machines at the main gate as well as two more in the vendors area but we suggest that you treat this as a cash only event.
Are pets permitted?
Unfortunately, no. Rover will have to sit this one out. It's a Transport Canada stipulation. Of course, if you require a licensed dog for mobility, they are more than welcome to assist you at the show site.
In addition, we're working with other third-parties to offer fun, interactive activities for the kids -- all in an effort to be 'edutational.' We want the kids to have fun, and perhaps learn about flight, space, science and more while they're at it.
Will there be a baby change station & breast-feeding area?
We had a small tent last year with a table and chairs, and will certainly try to have one again this year. Sorry, it wasn't fancy, but at least it provided some privacy.
NEW FOR 2012 – FREE on-site parking!
The airport has generously given the air show space to park vehicles on airport property this year, thus eliminating the need for shuttle buses.
BUT...please note, the distance between the parking lot and the show site will still be a walk. Please consider this when arriving with young children, seniors and equipment. Accessible parking will remain where it has been in the past, on airport property, close to the Terminal building.
The best tip we can offer is COME EARLY! The gates will open at 10am with plenty to do and see before the air show begins at 1pm.
How do I get to the Region of Waterloo International Airport?
Parking directions are provided under the Show Information tab.
How much will parking cost?
Parking is free for 2012.
Do you have parking for persons with disabilities?
Yes, as mentioned above, vehicles with Accessible Parking Permits will be allowed to park on airport property, close to the Terminal (enter at the airport's Main Entrance off Fountain Street). Please display your permit, and note that since parking is limited, a permit does not guarantee a parking spot.
Region of Waterloo International Airport
Can I fly to the Show?
If you would like to come to the show by air, outdoor parking will be made available to you for your aircraft. If you want to tie down your aircraft you will be allowed to park on grass but must provide your own tie downs. The transient aircraft parking area will be located in an area which will be inaccessible during show hours so check the restricted airspace NOTAM and ensure you arrive before the air space closes for the show. You will not be allowed to access your aircraft until after the air show has ended. There will be no charge for aircraft parking or admittance to the show for you and your passengers.
Will the Region of Waterloo International Airport be running their commercial flight schedule that weekend?
Yes, we can't ask WestJet and Bearskin to stop their business, but in 2011 their arrivals and departures had little effect on the show.
How many people are you expecting?
We expect to have approximately 40,000 spectators attend the event over the weekend.
Are air shows really that popular?
Oh yes, according to 2006 statistics, air shows in North America attracted more than 18 million people -- exceeding auto racing and the NFL.
I'd like to get involved with the air show.
The Waterloo Air Show is a volunteer run event. We're always looking for enthusiastic participants who wish to either put in days, weeks or months leading up to the show, or simply work during air show weekend. Please fill out our online Volunteer Form and our Volunteer Coordinator (and a volunteer herself) will be in touch with you.
Does volunteering at the Waterloo Air Show qualify students for community hours?
Absolutely. Put in the time, and we'll sign you off!