Friday, August 30, 2013

Sean D. Comes to Airdrie

One of the air show industry's most accomplished aerobatic pilots is Sean D. Tucker.  Sean is known for his wild aerobatic maneuvers, and his presence on the air show stage.

photo by Ray Courtman
I had almost given up hope of ever seeing Sean D. in Alberta, but I was pleasantly surprised when the Airdrie Air Show announced that he would be coming to perform there, this past July.  Sean only had one airshow scheduled in Western Canada, and Airdrie was it!

I have known of Sean for many years, and have watched his performances on video.  I had the privilege of attending an airshow safety seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, a few years back. Sean D. Tucker was one of the feature speakers, there.  I was impressed with his ability to perform aerobatic maneuvers that looked incredibly dangerous, but always had a high degree of safety built in.  For every maneuver Sean performs, he has calculated way out if he runs into trouble.

At Airdrie this summer, Sean's performances were impeccable.  Every maneuver was crisp, and in front of the crowd.  His aircraft is a purpose-built biplane, with a huge amount of power and a bright red paint job.  A superior smoke system traces his progress through his complicated routine.  I photographed him each time he flew and I did briefly meet him after the Sunday show.  I never tire of watching a very professional and very skilled pilot perform!

For airshow aficionados - and those who just like to come and watch the occassional air show - Sean D. did not disappoint!

Other commitments made Airdrie my first show of the 2013 season.  What a fantastic start!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Great Air Show Season!

The summer of 2013 turned out to be an excellent airshow summer! It was a "different" kind of year for air shows across North America.

Problems with the American government in Washington DC forced all American military aircraft to stay home! This meant that there were no demonstration aircraft, nor demo teams such as the US Navy's Blue Angels or the US Air Force Thunderbirds, and no visiting American military planes on the static display line. The only jet fighter display was the Canadian CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, and the only military jet aerobatic team performing were the Canadian Snowbirds.

Over the next few days I will be reporting on some of the happenings at air shows across Western Canada.

Despite the lack of American aircraft, Western Canadian airshows in 2013 were some of the best I've seen - ever!  Stay tuned here!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Winding Down, and Stage East!

There's less than one month left in the Summer of '13!  I don't think we had much of a summer!  We only had a few hot days.  Ah well, you can't pick the weather or your relatives! 

Stage East is gearing up for their 2013 performance.  We have just begun rehearsals!  Our dates this year are October 25 and 26.  Mark those dates on your calendar. 

Ticket prices are the same as last year, along with the Friday Night Table Special!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Emergency Planning

Lac-Mégantic, Québec rail disaster
In light of the widespread flooding in southern Alberta and the railway disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Québec, some of you are wondering if our village has an emergency plan. As a matter fact, we do.

It was created a few years ago, by a group of village officials and interested community members through a series of workshops held at the Beiseker Community Centre.  We were presented with different hypothetical scenarios, and we had to plan a course of action.  These "tabletop exercises" focused on keeping the people of Beiseker as safe as possible.

We reviewed scenarios involving blizzards, flash floods, railway problems, and highway accidents.

Copies of the plan we created were given to the fire department and to the village office.  We ran a couple of mock disasters to make sure our plan did work.

As part of the emergency plan, we stocked emergency supplies and provided an alternate power source for the Community Centre.  We made arrangements with local businesses to access their establishments after hours for emergency supplies if required, as well.  And finally, a mutual aid agreement was created between Beiseker and Irricana so that if one municipality needed to evacuate, the other community would accommodate them.

All of this took place more than five years ago.  Much has changed in Beiseker since then.  I personally believe that it's time we took this plan down from the shelf, read it over, and revise it to reflect what's happening today.

Would our existing plan work?  Yes it would, but it could work much more smoothly if it were brought up to date!