On the ground and in the air, Airshow London was a soaring success.
About 35,000 spectators flocked to the London International Airport over the weekend, amid record-high temperatures for this time of year, to watch Canadian and American pilots take to the skies for the largest display of military aircraft in Canada and the third-largest event of its kind in North America.
Now in its second year, organizers say the two-day attraction drew spectators from as far away as Europe, with many other aviation enthusiast coming from the United States.
“It’s an incredible event,” airshow spokesperson Susan McElroy said Sunday.
“Who can’t get excited for an airshow, right?
The show gave visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the planes and their pilots.
“They get in them (aircraft), they get on them and they talk to the crews,” McElroy said.
“I saw a little girl, she would have been about four years old, standing on the top of an F-15 yesterday by the cockpit . . . with the pilot and they were having quite the conversation.”
Mother Nature smiled on the airshow this year. While organizers lost a day last year to bad weather — the aircraft had to be grounded because of thunder and lightning — it was a completely different story this weekend, with clear blue skies and summer-like weather on both days.
The airshow featured about 60 aircraft, including the F-35 and the Super Hornet.
“It’s a pretty impressive lineup,” McElroy said.
An army of more than 500 volunteers, including 100 who worked year-round, made the weekend possible, McElroy said.
“Nothing would happen here if it wasn’t for volunteers,” she said. “Most of the show is put together by volunteers who give, literally, hundreds of thousands of hours.”
The non-profit event raises money for three charities: the Children’s Health Foundation, Parkwood Hospital’s veterans’ care program and the bursary and scholarship initiative at Fanshawe College’s aviation program.
Work is already underway for next year’s airshow.
“It’s just getting bigger and better,” McElroy said.
Read other news on the city site of London.