September 29th, 2016

Friday’s Leave it to Beeber column — Airshow stars performing at Lethbridge event


By Lethbridge Herald on June 5, 2015.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com
Fans of the Discovery series will see some familiar faces in July
A television series airing its second season Monday nights on Discovery will be of interest to southern Albertans who regularly attend the air show here in July.
The series, titled “Airshow,” launched its second season earlier this week featuring pilots and teams of acrobatic fliers from both Canada and the U.S.
The key player in an air show is called the “boss” fittingly enough. That person, according to one definition I found is, “the individual who has the primary responsibility for air show operations on the active taxiways, runways and the surrounding air show demonstration area. . .the guy who keeps the airplanes apart and the show together.”
Donna Flynn is no guy but as fans of the TV show have seen, she’s not a person to mess with.
As Discovery’s bio says, “she’s got the sweet face of everybody’s favourite aunt but Donna has made grown men cry.”
Flynn, who got her own private pilot’s licence in 1987 and commercial ticket two years later, started out as an air show volunteer more than 20 years ago.
Over the years, she has worked more than 300 shows in Canada and the U.S., and in July comes to Lethbridge to run this event July 24-25.
I’m hearing reports that the television series may film here, as well which would provide excellent exposure.
“Airshow” is a hugely entertaining reality program that looks at the work, the dangers and the skills involved in performing.
Several of the acts featured on the TV series will be performing here including “Super Dave” Mathieson, one of the featured characters in “Airshow.”
Canadian Mathieson, who like most of the “Airshow” cast can be followed on Twitter, was a commercial pilot for 27 years and has logged more than 16,000 hours of airtime. He flies an MX2 high-performance aircraft and as viewers saw Monday, has teamed up with Minnesota native Jon Melby, who operates a Pitts SB2 biplane, to form a new act.
Also flying here will be 25-year-old Stefan Trischuk in his Ultimate 10-150 biplane and a Pipistrel. Trischuk had a bit role in the first season of “Airshow,” mainly for the admonishments he got while being mentored by one of the world’s best stunt pilots, American Sean Tucker.
Also performing will be Marcus Paine in a 1940 Stearsman biplane. Paine and Quebec wingwalker Carol Pilon are featured performers in the series, as well.
Team Rocket Aerobatics of Rocky Mountain House, featuring Ken Fowler and Eric Hanson, will be performing in their high-performance aircraft. This duo can also be seen on “Airshow.”
And making an appearance, of course, will be Canada’s Snowbirds who I will be seeing next week back in Fort Frances, Ontario where I’m heading for a week of fishing and losing golf balls. My older brother was actually the Snowbirds’ supply technician for years before retiring from the military.
The high-powered cast of the TV series certainly has the potential to make this year’s Lethbridge International Air Show even more special.

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