The 2010 Québec Air Show attracts 107,000 visitors

Photo: Jay Ouellet

Zoom in Large Photo - Skip Stewart and his Prometheus Custom Stunt Bi-plane perform a death defying ribbon cutting stunt amazingly close to the ground!

With the thermometer at 24 degrees on Saturday, it might have been a good day to go swimming in the nearest lake.

But then the 107,000 people in attendance would have missed the 15th edition of the Quebec Air Show which took place at Jean Lesage Airport. Though falling far short of the 160,000 who attended in 2008, the three-day long show that opened Friday evening offered plenty of excitement, opening with the lighting of a fire wall by a Canadian CF-18, followed by fireworks.

Saturday's weather was perfect for taking pictures of airplanes accomplishing amazing figures in Quebec City's blue sky. Closing the day of festivities, six US Air Force Thunderbirds - four in a squad and two solos- offered a flashy performance to the visitors crowded on the side of the airport runway. Many people used ear plugs to protect themselves from the deafening noise of the planes' engines. For 20 minutes, the six F-16 planes switched from "wing-overs" to "delta formation" and "diamond formation" above the crowd.

Created in 1947, the Thunderbird team's mission is to "illustrate the professionalism of the US Air Force" represented by "the elite of the US army's flying staff." The 2010 team is composed of 12 pilots from Texas, New York, Florida and Nebraska, each with more than 1,500 hours of flying time. The commentator of the show reminded the crowd that while the pilots are usually at the centre of attention, there are also about 130 technicians who maintain the planes.

"It's a team work," he said. In appreciation of the show presented by the Thunderbirds, spectators raised their hands in the air as the planes were landing.

Francis and Sylvie from Québec City were in the crowd watching the show comfortably seated in their folding chairs, an umbrella protecting them from the sun. With such organization, one could guess it was not the first time they had come to the Quebec Air Show. It was Sylvie's third show.

"We both love planes", Francis said. "We will definitely come back if the show is planned in future years."
Between two air shows, visitors were given access to cargo planes from the US Air Force and Canadian Air Force, an Airbus 310 from Air Transat, an Embraer E-190 (a passenger airplane with low CO2 emissions) from Air Canada, and two helicopters. The winners of a game organized during the day boarded the Airbus at the end of the afternoon to make a short flight above Quebec City.


Photo: Pauline Moisy, During three days, visitors had access to military and commercial planes, like the Air Canada Embraer E-190 (left) and the Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III (right)
Photo: Jay Ouellet - USAF Thunderbird No. 4 Maj Sean Gustafson performs a sideways flight maneuver in his F-16 Flacon
Photo: Jay Ouellet - Canadian Forces CF-18 performs high speed pass almost breaking the sound barrier, as you can see the Prandtl-Glauert condensation cone or vapor cone as the jet approaches the sound speed barrier.
Photo: Pierre Little - Skip Stewart and Shockwave Jet Truck perform a joint stunt with huge flames coming out of the jet engine.