Despite scattered storms in the forecast for southern Alberta, plane enthusiasts rallied together again for the second part of the Alberta Air Tour, this time in the south of the province.
As previously stated, the tour’s mission remains the following: "To demonstrate the value of general aviation by inspiring and educating the general public through positive direct interaction with a group of visiting aviators touring small community airports."
TCT has once again been allowed to participate thanks to the generosity of community leader Dina Jammaz, Air Traffic Controller for NAV CANADA and the Industry & Indigenous Relations representative of Elevate Aviation. Lakeland Today describes the group as “a non-profit group which promotes women’s success in aviation careers, said the concept grew from there into seeing an opportunity to promote Alberta’s communities on a broader scale and the Alberta Air Tour came into being.”
“It brings the town out and it brings their attention to the local aviation community and the economic development that could happen at each airport could be a huge benefit to each of the towns. Everybody is on board with this,” Jammaz said earlier this summer. “What an amazing turnout. This is exactly what we picture when we do one of these.”
“It’s an absolute pleasure to meet and work with members of our aviation community. This event has been incredible for building relationships with people across Alberta, whether it is members of the aviation community or those who love to watch airplanes.”
For the southern tour, events began with a pancake breakfast in Medicine Hat. A presentation, food and celebration was also held in Claresholm. Although the event was smaller than the northern portion due to bad weather and certain areas could not be visited due to safety concerns, the event was still a shining success. “Even though Mother Nature decided that we needed rain today, Southern Alberta shone through,” wrote Dina.
MLA Shane Getson praised the event on social media, writing: “Can’t thank the Pilots, the ground crews, the volunteers, the elected officials, the not for profit groups, and the Community for coming out to talk about the airports and airplanes! Many thanks to all of the pilots who flew in our “Deep South” air tour! Great work out there being ambassadors of Aviation! I had nothing but positive feedback.”
Chelsae Petrovic, Mayor of Claresholm , also commented. “I just wanted to say thank you for picking the town of Claresholm as one of your air tour stops. Although the weather did not cooperate this particular day, I wanted to say that I was in awe of how many local plane and flying enthusiasts there are in this area. Many locals kept showing up even after the pilots had left hoping to get a look at some of the planes and a chance to talk to the pilots.
The Claresholm airport is filled with probably the most rich history of any of the bases in this province, and I hope that your group enjoyed your visit as much as we all did. Speaking on behalf of the people that missed out on your presence, and also those that wanted more time to talk with you all, I hope another opportunity is available next year and that your tour picks this destination as an annual stop. Much love for your group and the awareness you bring to the aviation hobbyists and sector of this province.”
The Alberta Air Tours have been widely celebrated in the province. MLA Shane Getson presented AAT committee member Eldon Gjesdal with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee award for outstanding service in August for his community effort.
“Eldon is the person who brought us together to create the Alberta Air Tours. He is an outstanding member of the GA community and one of the most kind and generous people I’ve ever met,” wrote Getson on Facebook.
The event is set to continue next summer. “What a couple of weeks. Exhausted but happy. Alberta is such a beautiful province filled with such amazing people [...] We are going to get to work on what Alberta Air Tours airports and communities to visit next year,” wrote Dina. We at TCT are equally enthusiastic to see what’s in the store for the new year!