Thunderbirds, F-22 & C-17 among performers at drive-in version of Airshow London

LONDON | Organisers of Airshow London are promising Canada’s first socially responsible and physically distant airshow when the annual event returns this September.

The drive-in airshow, rebranded as Sky Drive, will feature a three-hour flying display, but no static display and ground activities, to help promote social distancing. The military-only flying display is due to include three rare Canadian appearances from US Air Force demonstration teams, including the Thunderbirds, F-22A Raptor and C-17A Globemaster III. The US Army Golden Knights will also be crossing the border to participate.

Airshow London say additional aircraft are “still to be determined”, but also promise aircraft representing the Royal Canadian Air Force. The CF-18 Demo Team’s 2020 display season has been suspended, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds are not currently flying following a fatal accident in May, but previous editions of Airshow London have often featured flybys from regular RCAF units.

Organisers say they will be able to accomodate up to 2,500 cars, with each vehicle occupying a 500ft² (45m²) space. Visitors will be able to watch the show from within this space, either inside or outside their vehicle. Toilet facilities will be provided, and commentary will be broadcast over the radio.

The first post-coronavirus drive-in airshow is due to be held on the 18th July by the Shuttleworth Collection in the UK. It promises a similar format to Airshow London’s Sky Drive event, although parking spaces at the Canadian show are considerably larger.

Jim Graham, Chair of Airshow London, said: “We know how much the air show is enjoyed by the community, so while the impact of COVID-19 prevents us from producing our traditional-style event, we wanted to create a solution that minimizes risk and interaction while still offering an exciting and family-friendly event.

“Now that we are allowed to gather in a socially responsible manner, we are excited to offer this amazing opportunity for outdoor entertainment.”

Entry to the event will be reserved for advance ticket holders arriving by car or motorcycle only, with three tiers of access promised. Access to the red car park, next to the main runway, will cost $150 per car. The blue zone, located in the regular festival grounds, is priced at $115, and the green zone, located furthest from the action, is priced at an affordable $75. Vehicles with a capacity for more than six people or exceeding certain dimensions are considered oversized, and additional restrictions apply.

Sky Drive is scheduled for the 12th-13th September 2020. For more information or to book tickets, visit their website.