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Canada 150 aircraft display at Pembroke Airport

By Celina Ip

Siblings Kierra and Ellis Shields sit in the front of a CL-415 water bomber.

Siblings Kierra and Ellis Shields sit in the front of a CL-415 water bomber.


Pembroke and Area Airport was bustling with 1500 aircraft enthusiasts of all ages at the Canada 150 Fly-In event that took place Sept. 23.


The static aircraft show welcomed members of the public to view 77 aircraft that including various independently-owned planes – coming from across Ontario and Quebec – along with a few larger aircraft that were brought in by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario MNR).

A few of the showcased aircraft included a Diamond Star DA40, an Airbus EC30 helicopter, a CL-415 water bomber and a De Havilland DHC-2 Mark III Turbo Beaver, among others – the latter three of which attendees had a chance to step inside the cockpit.

From morning until late afternoon, hundreds stopped by the airport to admire the extensive range of aircraft and engage in passionate conversations about aviation with the pilots on site.

My kids love airplanes and they got really excited about the monster water bomber when we first walked in. They’ve also seen the Disney movies Airplanes so they're even thrilled to see the small single-engine planes as well,” said Merill Rosenow who came to the event with his kids Annie and Mitchel.

With his border collie Jesse flying in the back passenger seat of his De Havilland Chipmunk DHC1, Collingwood pilot Kevin Elwood attracted many spectators when he landed his plane at the event.

“This aircraft was owned by George Neal who was a chief task pilot for De Havilland for 45 years and two years ago he set the Guinness World Record for being the oldest active pilot 97 years old. When he passed away a year and a half ago, I started flying his aircraft and I’m pleased to show it off today and share it with other aviation enthusiasts,” said Elwood. “The City of Pembroke did a great job of advertising their event so I thought it would be fun to come over and join in. I've never been to Pembroke before, I've flown by many times but never stopped until today. And my dog Jesse flies with me everywhere I go – if there's a passenger seat available, Jesse is on board and she loves it.”

Oshawa’s Cheryl Marek was among the few female pilots on site and she eagerly engaged attendees in conversations about the thrill of aviation and why more women should try their hand at flying.

“I started flying in my 40s and have been for about 17 years now. once I started training, I absolutely loved it and having that different perspective was so inspiring to me,” said Marek. “Right now in Canada, only about six per cent of the pilot population is female. But now you'll find more airports are having these career days for women and girls where they’ll bring in speakers and give them an introduction to flying.”

Among the visitors was MPP John Yakabuski and Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay. LeMay dropped by with his wife Barbara, and their grandchildren Charlie and Rose.

“The airport it's extremely important for economic development so we want to support it as much as we can as a city. The bottom line is we have two modes of transportation in the Upper Ottawa Valley – a two-lane highway and the airport – so from our perspective in Pembroke, this is extremely important and we want to see it be successful. So it's great to see so many people out today checking it out and seeing what's here,” said LeMay.

Along with the static aircraft display, children were entertained by a few inflatables provided by Ry-Js, and a chili lunch was available for purchase, with proceeds going towards repaving of the runway.


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