In its current format, the Waterloo Air Show is entering its fifth year in 2013, although aviation expos and flying displays have been held on and off at the Waterloo airport for decades. During the 90's and 2000's the airport played host to an almost-annual aviation day which gave the public rare access to airport property allowing them to explore displays, exhibits and parked aircraft, and discover military and civilian aviation up close.
In the meantime, two major annual air shows in southwest Ontario -- in London and Hamilton -- ceased operations, and in 2009, a group of interested volunteers was brought together to rekindle a show in southwest Ontario at the Waterloo airport.
The first Waterloo Aviation Expo and Air Show took place in August of 2009. It was relatively small, had almost no military participation with the exception of a Griffon Helicopter from 400 Squadron in Borden, Ontario and suffered from unseasonably bad weather. However, the interest continued to grow and in June of 2010 the second show was held. This show enjoyed an exponential increase in participation from the Canadian Forces highlighted by the 9-plane Snowbirds formation team, a great selection of civilian aviation acts, and welcomed the first participation in Waterloo from the U.S. Armed Forces in the form of a U.S. Navy jet which attended on static display for the weekend. Much improved weather delighted fans, performers and volunteers, and contributed significantly to an increase in attendance to 40,000.
For 2011, the Waterloo Air Show shortened its name, although the Aviation Expo remained an integral part of the event. The quality of the acts continued to grow with performances from all three of the Canadian Force's demonstration teams: the Snowbirds, the SkyHawks Parachute Team and the CF-18 Demonstration Team. The show also hosted its first U.S. Air Force Demo Team -- Viper East with its F-16 from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. And the ground displays continued to provide guests a rich look into flight -- past and present.
In 2012, the Canadian Forces continued their support of the Waterloo show by again sending us all three of their demonstration teams: the Snowbirds, the SkyHawks and the CF-18. And on static, there were Canada's two military jet trainers from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a Harvard II and a Hawk, with their pilots standing by to speak with spectators all weekend. The show added pyro -- a huge wall of fire! - to the line-up which was spectacular! Yet, Mother Nature was again unkind to air show weekend and the single-digit temperatures, gusting winds and pouring rain kept many people away. And despite the poor weather, ironically every aircraft flew -- proving that even bad weather won't ground our show.
The Waterloo Air Show is organized by one staff member and 250 incredible volunteers. While some come out for the weekend to help, others start preparing months in advance. The show is honoured to have a large group of motivated people working together to create a great entertaining and family event for Waterloo Region.
We invite and welcome you to join us, as a guest at the show or a volunteer behind the scenes. Together we will join in celebrating the power, mystique and love of flight.
Until June, happy skies!