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Air tour landing in Lloyd

By May 25, 2022No Comments


The Lloydminster Municipal Airport tarmac will host one of the city’s biggest events of the year with the arrival of the 2022 Alberta Air Tour.

Aircraft of all types will touch down the morning of June 4 for what can be described as a poker rally for pilots, with other stops that day in Cold Lake and St. Paul.

There will be a pancake breakfast and all types of aircraft eye candy from Cessnas to jets to check out on an early Saturday morning.

The event is led by Shane Getson, MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, an aircraft owner and pilot who is bringing a variety of airshow, fighter and race plane pilots and aircraft to Lloydminster.

“There’s about 40 on the list right now, so including the passengers, we’ll have 80 people,” said Getson. 

“We have a former CF-18 demo pilot—he’s the air boss for the Cold Lake Air show, so he’s probably going to be bringing his rocket. I’ll be coming in an RV-8.”

There will also be some speeches by dignitaries about what’s happening in the area’s economy before it’s wheels up at 10 a.m. for the next stop.

Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers is hoping there will be some great static displays of additional military and RCMP aircraft.

“We are hoping to have a water bomber from Sask Environment if they are not on call,” he said.

“The Alberta Air Tour is going to be a great opportunity for people to interact and learn about the aerospace industry,” said Aalbers.

Katlin Ducherer, the City’s economic development officer, welcomes the air tour as an advocate for aircraft and local airports.

“We’re really excited to have them,” she said.

Getson says people get excited about it because they still think aviation is cool and see airplanes as something unique. 

“The real fun part is when you get a young person and you tell them this isn’t beyond their reach.”

Getson said he was once a farm kid from Alberta that looked up at the sky one day and wanted to fly. 

“I saved up a few pennies here and there and got my pilot’s licence and own my own aircraft and I’ve never looked back,” he said.

Getson and two other pilots started the tour in 2020 to celebrate the local aviation industry and promote the economic impact of regional airports during the pandemic.

“We kind of figured we should do something for these different areas, and at the same time, promote their airports,” explained Getson.

There will be a second air tour this summer on Aug. 6 to airports in Medicine Hat, Claresholm and Beiseker following three tours in 2021.

“A lot of people, if they are not directly involved in aviation, they don’t realize they have these assets,” said Getson. 

He notes airports like Lloyd’s are strategic corridors linking one community to another, citing direct flights on WestJet to and from Calgary as an example. 

“If you are coming internationally to Calgary, jump to Lloyd and you are right at the refinery,” said Getson.

“Your mayor and council were so stoked and supportive of it. Having that access is absolutely paramount to sustain growth and sustainability.”

Getson says a 2017 study for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association indicated that just one plane can generate a local economic spinoff of about $130,000. 

“It’s actually a big deal,” he said.

Getson flew into the Lloydminster airport for the first time on Dec. 5 and said it was phenomenal.

“I was blown away by the airport and everything else,” he said. 

He also says the guys in the flight school at Border City Aviation were phenomenal, but they told him support for the airport runs hot and cold.

“We have to make sure we keep these things and grow them,” said Getson. 

He says the air tour is a really good opportunity for people to not only see and experience the airport but also to mingle and network and see what the valuable asset is.

“All of a sudden you start getting these ideas like under the wing camping, an outdoor festival or a music festival. Maybe you can shut the strip down for one day and you have drag races,” he said.

“It’s just a natural place where events can take place.”