The first two Snowbirds touched down at Penticton Regional Airport late Monday morning under smokey skies.
The remaining iconic red and white CT-114 Tutor jets began landing later in the afternoon in advance of their scheduled 6 p.m. performance Wednesday, the opening day of the 70th annual Penticton Peach Festival.
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Also expected to drop in Monday at some point were members of the Canadian Armed Forces Skyhawks parachute team who are also on the bill opening day.
They were coming by ground transportation.
Rounding out the air show portion of the festival, once again generously sponsored by Peters Bros. Construction, will be a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet.
While the visibility is currently limited due to the smoke from burning wildfires clouding the air, Snowbirds public affairs officer Lt. Michele Tremblay, who was with the first two jets, is hopeful there will be a show of some type.
“It’s a bit early to say what type of show we’re going to do, for example, le two weeks ago we flew in to do a show and it was smokey and the next day it cleared up,” said Tremblay after exiting the aircraft on the runway apron. “The team lead will do an assessment the day of the show to see what type of show we can do but it’s only Monday and anything can happen.
“The snow birds can offer different kinds of performances which we call our high show, our low show, adaptive to aerobatics or not. What we try to do obviously is offer something to the public.”
Penticton has been fortunate to host the aerial team on a number of occasions, adding the mid-week show to their schedule in advance of their annual visit to the Abbotsford International Air Show coming up this weekend.
While here the Snowbird pilots and crews are scheduled to take part in a variety of events including signing autographs and competing in the third annual Peach Bin Race which they won the last time they were here.
Fred Trainor heads the committee that organizes the air show portion of the festival.
“This might be the only time we get to do this and we’re pretty excited,” said Trainor about having the three scheduled performers and who was at the airport to welcome the teams. “We think this is a pretty big deal. We’re ready to go.
“We’re so fortunate, it’s been perhaps eight months of trying or longer.”