Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gatineau-Ottawa air show canceled for 2014

The annual Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa air show has been canceled for 2014, as Vintage Wings of Canada instead turns its focus to an event next month for youth and members-only adults.

The air show was to have been held in mid-September, as it has been since 2011, said Vintage Wings of Canada spokesman Carl Martin. The air show grew out of a doors-open style event, Martin said, but holding it this year wasn’t possible with the Hadfield Youth Summit event next month.

“You can imagine, an air show is very complicated and requires hundreds of volunteers...    It just proved to be logistically too challenging to do both events this year,” Martin said. 

The June youth summit at the Gatineau Executive Airport will feature Chris Hadfield, a Vintage Wings board member who was a pilot before becoming an astronaut.

A “couple of hundred” local attendees, between the ages of 12 and 18, will be chosen by the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. As well, Vintage Wings has close to 400 paying members who are invited and can bring one youth in the same age range.

Martin said the event wasn’t intended to replace the air show, which anyone could pay to attend. “It was too much to do both,” he said, adding the board of directors will make a decision and announcement early next year about the 2015 show’s fate.

Martin said there have been no issues with the air show, related costs or insurance, and the decision this year simply came down to logistics and priorities for the “small team.”

Martin said he didn’t think scrapping the 2014 air show will cost Vintage Wings any cancellation fees. The public charitable organization was founded in 2003 by Ottawa businessman and philanthropist Michael Potter, with the goal of inspiring young Canadians.

In the past, aerial demonstrations have been performed at the show by aircraft, including the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team and a wing-walker. Other aircraft have been displayed on the ground, including a CF-18, Chinook helicopter and Lockheed-Martin CC-130J transport aircraft.

“We’re hoping we’ll be back next year,” Martin said. “That’s the consolation.”


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