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Pilots prepare for takeoff at the Abbotsford International Airshow

Show will feature a variety of planes and performances from Aug. 9 to 11
Greg Coyler

With the Abbotsford International Airshow getting off the ground this morning, pilots are given a chance to showcase their skills, and the planes they love, as they take to the sky.

Greg Colyer, a pilot from San Francisco, California, brought his T-33 Shooting Star to the airshow.

Colyer served in the US Army and worked as an air traffic controller, but he still aimed to fly. His plane, nicknamed "Acemaker" previously operated in Canada.

"This one was actually a Canadian CT-133, so this is actually a Canadian bird."

Colyer has been flying for 30 years and had wanted to be a fighter pilot as a child.

"This was my favourite aircraft as a kid. I just love the history of it."

Colyer said his aircraft was built in 1954 and "it served in the Canadian fighter wing until 1977."

He said it was then used as a chase plane, and in 1987 was restored to military configuration.

"It's my first year in Abbotsford and I'm honoured to be here," adding that airshows are a chance to share aviation with the next generation as well as with veterans. He said each time he gets to take his plane up is a thrill.

"It's all a dream. It's kind of surreal."

Also performing are Kent Pietsch, who performs an aerobatic comedy act, as well as a rooftop landing on a moving RV, and a dead-stick (turning the engine off) routine, in his Interstate Cadet.

Rob Holland will perform his world-class aerobatics throughout the weekend. As the 2011, 2012 US National Aerobatic Champion, Holland shows off his amazing skills in his MXS-RH.

WIth the theme of this year's airshow as a salute to the Royal Canadian Air Force, a variety of military performances are also scheduled.

The show will also feature performances by the SkyHawks, the Canadian Forces Parachute team, the Snowbirds, Canada's military aerobatics demonstation team, and more.