Eric Fast, shown here with his daughter Adrienne Fast in 1977, is coming to The Reach later this month. (Submitted)

Accomplished fighter pilot speaking at The Reach

Eric “Speedy” Fast coming to Abbotsford later this month

The Abbotsford International Airshow is fast approaching, and The Reach Gallery Museum wants to get locals thinking about the skies by bringing a legendary pilot to town.

Retired pilot Speedy (Eric) Fast of Portage la Prairie, Man. will share his life and career adventures on Saturday, July 20 at 2:30 p.m. inside the museum.

Fast grew up as a Mennonite farm boy, and then later became a fighter pilot and Snowbirds captain.

Fast comes to Abbotsford via his daughter, Adrienne Fast, curator of art and visual culture at The Reach. He was born to Mennonite parents and grew up on a homestead farm near Spiritwood, Sask. He joined the Canadian Air Force in 1962 at the age of 18, and earned his pilot wings the following year. He served as a staff pilot in Cold Lake, Alta. until 1967, after which he flew Caribou aircraft in India.

He was then posted to CFB Moose Jaw in 1969 as a pilot instructor until he was selected for the Snowbirds in 1976. He retired from the Air Force in 1999 but continued flying privately until 2010. He recorded more than 16,000 flight hours over the course of his career.

Jim Reith, president of the AIA and another former fighter pilot and Snowbird who later flew commercial airplanes, will be on hand to introduce Fast. There will also be a mini silent auction featuring a family admission/parking package to, and courtesy of, this year’s AIA, along with refreshments and traditional Mennonite cookies for all to enjoy.

For more on the event, visit thereach.ca/calendar, call 604-864-8087 or drop by The Reach.

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