“Nope – no parachute,” said Ross Granley, with a grin. “You’re not going to need it.”
He made the comment as he was strapping three passengers into his Yak 18T aircraft on Thursday afternoon.
Ross recently flew in from Washington to perform at the 49th Abbotsford International Airshow, running today through Sunday at Abbotsford Airport.
Ross has performed here numerous times with his father Bud, who is a well-known name at the annual event.
The duo often fly together in formation, travelling across North America with their act. Bud pilots a Yak 55.
During Thursday’s flight, the father and son planes were joined by three other aircraft: a yellow Pitts Special, a black Harvard and a yellow Harvard.
As the planes lifted off the tarmac, Ross’s Yak 18T in the lead, communication was key.
Ross was on his microphone the entire flight, ensuring the other pilots were safe, that they weren’t straying off too far and weren’t too close to each other.
Beyond the turbulence that occurred closer to the ground, it was a smooth flight.
The higher the planes ascended, the more the clouds melted away, providing a perfectly blue backdrop.
The five aircraft made every transition with ease, switching from a line formation to flying stacked over one another.
At one point, the Yak 55 and the Pitts Special lined up on the right wing of the Yak 18T and performed aerial flips in unison before swooping off to practise more stunts.
Without any warning, Ross turned the plane onto its canopy, providing a bird’s-eye view of Abbotsford’s berry fields, farms, residential pools and surrounding terrain.
He looped a few times and then turned back to his radio, organizing clearance for all five aircraft.
Back on the runway, once the planes were safely lined up in a row on the tarmac, giving way to the numerous jets and warbirds, Bud and Ross said they were happy with the flight, crediting strong communication skills for its success.
They feel good about this year’s performance and are ready for the weekend.
“It’s not a complete aviation year unless we’ve been to the Abbotsford Airshow,” said Bud.
This year’s show will feature numerous airborne acts in the air and static displays on the ground.
Airplane enthusiasts and families will be able to see military aircraft, warbirds and civilian planes.
Static displays will include heavy lifters, fighters and attack jets, trainers and light transport and helicopters. Gates are open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
For more information, and for a full schedule, check out www.abbotsfordairshow.com