Airshow ground crew helps make airborne magic possible

19 Wing Comox Ground Support Detachment is at the airshow to help things run smoothly

Capt. James Cox and Warrant Officer Ben Fortier are at the airshow with 19 Wing Comox Ground Support Detachment.

Capt. James Cox and Warrant Officer Ben Fortier are at the airshow with 19 Wing Comox Ground Support Detachment.

As the Abbotsford International Airshow keeps amazed spectators’ eyes on the sky, the hardworking members of the 19 Wing Comox Ground Support Detachment are busy making sure things on the ground run smoothly.

Warrant Officer Ben Fortier said they have specialized equipment to assist in putting on the airshow, which would otherwise be difficult for the organizers to acquire.

They work behind-the-scenes to make sure planes are fuelled, oxygen is available for the pilots who rely on it, co-ordinate movements on the ground, and more.

Fortier added that as the airshow brings in thousands of people, making sure tasks like fuelling planes are done safely and away from spectators.

As Comox is the closest base to Abbotsford, they are on site to offer their expertise and training in a multitude of areas. They are equipped with fire extinguishers and other equipment for first response, if necessary.

It’s also a great time commitment for the detachment, who Fortier said will be there for a week, likely working more than 12 hours a day.

“We’re the first here and we’re the last here,” he said.

But Capt. James Cox adds that all the work is actually a pleasure.

“It’s a real treat,” he said.

While both said they are excited to see the military planes they love, they are also looking forward to the numerous civilian performers who will fill the airshow weekend.

Fortier said that while it is his fourth year assisting at the airshow, he is still “like a kid in a candy store.”

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