Snowbirds ready for hot show

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds arrived in Kelowna Tuesday in preparation for today's (Wednesday) performance over the waters of Okanagan Lake.

The show begins at 5 p.m. and runs about 35 minutes.

The performance will be centered across from the island stage in Waterfront Park meaning the best vantage point will be anywhere between Waterfront Park and City Park.

Anyone hoping to watch the show from Knox Mountain is reminded Knox Mountain Road will be closed to incoming traffic from 3 p.m. to approximately 6 p.m., however, vehicles will be able to exit during that time period.

Pedestrian access will be maintained.

Snowbirds public affairs officer, Captain Thomas Edelson, says people will be in for a good show.

Edelson says the clear skies means good high show conditions.

"We'll have nine aircraft flying about a 35 minute jet team demonstration," says Edelson.

"There will be nine plane formations, three plane, five plane, seven plane. A bit of smoke and mirrors. It looks a little bit magical. It's meant to look a little bit dangerous but it's obviously flown with the highest degrees of safety."

He says it's an exciting and interesting performance made even more unique by the fact it's over water.

Edelson says there are challenges to flying over water and land.

"Normally, the air over water is a little bit cooler and a lit bit smoother. Once you hit land you feel a bit of a speed bump as you run back into hot air and turbulence.

Kelowna is a unique kind of show site because the terrain is quite challenging. Obviously there is rising terrain to the west and there is a little bit of rising terrain behind the city as well so that all has to be taken into account."

The water also presents challenges in that boats and personal water craft are asked to stay out of the no go zone.

Edelson says most people are aware and obey the no go zone but urges people to observe it for the benefit of everyone watching the show.

"If some yahoo in a jet ski or a boat decides to not play by the rules and they start going through the box because the want to be right under the show, the show gets cancelled or gets paused until the police can remove that person from the show site," says Edelson.

"Once the team is in the air we're just burning gas and it will just make the show shorter for the people."

He says the restricted area is for the safety of both the pilots and the people below.

"When the guys are flying in formation you are concentrating so heavily on the planes in front of you and beside you, your points of reference, that you really don't want to be distracted," says Edelson.

"You are flying just a few feet from another plane in bumpy air. If you have something that catches your eye, even for second, if you see a little flash out of the corner of your eye you are probably going to look at it and that means you are not looking at the person beside you."

Kelowna RCMP will also be out in force Wednesday.

Cst. Kris Clark says police will be on the water patrolling the restricted area as well as the William R Bennett Bridge.

Clark says police will be on the bridge to ensure people keep moving. He says some people want to stop on the bridge and watch the show.

Wednesday's show is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kelowna.

Spokesman Peter Schultz says about 60 volunteers will be going through the crowd asking for donations.

Schultz says proceeds will go towards the cost of bringing the Snowbirds to Kelowna.

Additional funds will assist the Rotary Club Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs and youth programs at the new Paddle Club.


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