Major James Kettles stands in front of a CF-18, a plane that he flew in Libya. This plane, along with many others, were popular attractions at the Medicine Hat Family Fun and Flight open house at the Medicine Hat Airport Monday afternoon.–NEWS PHOTO CHARLES LEFEBVRE
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Thousands of people in Medicine Hat got an up-close look at the machines that transport them,and protect them.The Medicine Hat Airport held its Family Fun and Flight open house for the fourth year Monday afternoon. Those in attendance were given the chance to view more than 25 civilian and military planes around the airport and were able to climb ladders to look at the cockpit in detail. “It’s been phenomenal,” said Dave Rozdeba, director of air operations for the event. “The variety of aircraft far outreached what we expected.” Planes at the show included everything from vintage aircraft to HALO helicopters, as well as state-of-the-art combat machines like the CF-18. “There are some very marquee aircraft here that normally at an airshow would be fenced off,” said Rozdeba. “But here you can touch the aircraft and talk to the pilot — that’s what is unique about our show.” There were two CF-18 fighter planes displayed at the air-show. Major James Kettles, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force for 17 years, was answering questions for the public about the plane, which is used as a NORAD plane and in combat missions such as Libya. He described flying the plane, which can reach speeds of Mach 1.8, or around 2,000 km/h, “like the most exciting roller coaster you could ride, times 1,000.” “I love the challenge of flying it.” Rob Fleck, president of Vintage Wings of Canada, was giving a history lesson of the P-51 Mustang, a bomber from the Second World War. A refurbished plane was a popular attraction at the airshow, especially for young people.”It’s an honour to go out on the road to talk to people and to put the spark in the youth that visit,” Fleck said. Throughout the afternoon, Super T Aviation was taking groups of people on aerial tours of the city, giving passengers a birds-eye view of their house.