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Abbotsford International Airshow in 2021

Abbotsford Airshow Fighter Jet Static Display

Taking place on a weekend in August and featuring all kinds of vintage planes and military aircraft, the Abbotsford International Airshow is amazing.

In 2021 the event takes place in a drive-in format on the weekend of August 6th to 8th. Tickets start at $100.

 


2021 AIRSHOW PLANS

The Abbotsford International Airshow was cancelled last year due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. However, the event returned in a modified format in August of 2021! Folks who purchased tickets for the 2020 event could use their tickets to attend the 2021 event.

Headline performers booked for 2021 include the United States Air-Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demo Team.

Note: The fireworks shows at the 2021 event were cancelled due to extreme fire conditions. Hopefully they’ll be back again next year. Also, ironically, the matinee show on the Saturday was cancelled due to the first major rainfall of the summer.

Other major events happening at the same time in the Lower Mainland include the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival, Playland at the PNE, the Da Vinci Experience in Tsawwassen, and Imagine Van Gogh in Vancouver.


 

Playland in 2021

 


This article contains information about the following topics:

About the Airshow | Show DetailsHighlights | ScheduleAdmission Prices | Tips & Advice | Other Information

Click on any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about the Abbotsford International Airshow.


 

The Abbotsford Airshow

In 2021 the Airshow is scheduled to take place on the weekend of August 6-8 at its usual Abbotsford Airport (YXX) venue at 1595 Townline Road in Abbotsford.

The event has been taking place each summer for over 50 years and typically draws over 125,000 people, making it Western Canada’s largest airshow.

In 2021 performers include the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, a CF-18 Hornet demo, an F-22 Raptor demo and others.

 

Snowbird Planes at Abbotsford Airshow
Canadian Forces Snowbirds

 

About the Abbotsford Airshow

In years when it does take place, the three-day event draws aircraft and spectators from around the world. In most years highlights include appearances by Canada’s Snowbirds, Canadian Forces parachute teams, entries from the Canadian Museum of Flight and demonstrations by Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornets. Foreign air forces also participate.

The Abbotsford Airshow is definitely one of Metro Vancouver’s top annual events, especially for people who like airplanes. Even for those who aren’t airplane fanatics, the spectacle can be very entertaining.

In 2013 the event was listed as one of the world’s top 10 airshows by USA Today. Of the other nine, six were from the US, two from the UK and one in Germany.

 

Taking a Look at a Fighter Display

 

Airshow Details

Most years the Abbotsford International Airshow grounds are open from 3:30 until 10:30 pm on the Friday, and from 9:00 am until 5:30 pm on the Saturday and Sunday.

The main flying events typically take place between 5:30 and 10:00 pm on the Friday, and from 11:00 am until 4:30 pm on the Saturday and Sunday.

 

2021 Details

The 2021 event has been labeled “SkyDrive.” It’s a drive-in experience where those attending are given a 20-foot by 20-foot square of space to park their cars and enjoy the show.

There are four individual performances planned. The first is on August 6th from 6:00 pm to 9:15 pm. There are two on August 7th, from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm and then again from 6:00 pm to 9:15 pm. On August 8th there is one more performance from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm.

Gates are scheduled to open at 4:30 pm for the evening shows on the Friday and Saturday and at 9:30 am for the two earlier weekend ones.

You can watch the airshow from inside your vehicle if you wish, or brings blankets and chairs to set up outside (while remaining in your designated square). There won’t be food sold on-site, so bring your own! Alcoholic drinks are not allowed, but all other food and beverages are. There are public washrooms on-site.

All tickets for the event are sold by vehicle, with a maximum of six people in each car or truck. The cheapest tickets are $100 and the most expensive are $200. Tickets went on sale June 23rd, 2021. No tickets will be sold at the gate this year, so make sure to get yours online!

People with tickets to the 2020 show can either convert them into credit to use for 2021 or hold them until 2022 (when the format will hopefully return to what it was pre-pandemic).

 

Geoff Latter in Nanchang CJ-6A Stunt Plane
Geoff Latter in a Nanchang CJ-6A

 


For a video of airshow stunts from inside a 1958 Nanchang CJ-6A that often performs at the event, click Video with Geoff Latter Airshows.


 

Airshow Highlights and Performers

Below is information about what to expect at the Airshow.

A major highlight of the event in a typical year is the Twilight Show on the Friday evening. That’s when the Canadian Forces Snowbirds usually do a show, and Canadian CF-18s and American Super Hornets or other equivalent jets do flyovers.

The Friday evening also usually finishes with fireworks which last for about 12 or so minutes most years. If the Friday evening Twilight Show is happening, try to attend! They are impressive and include fireworks in both the sky and blasting off from the ground!

(Note: The 2021 event was going to have fireworks, but they were cancelled due to the extreme fire conditions in British Columbia.)

 

BC Day Long Weekend

 

Airshow Schedule

Below is the schedule for the Abbotsford Airshow in 2021.

(Note: Times and details are subject to change.)

 

Friday, August 6th (2021) (Twilight Show)

  • 4:30 pm – Gates are open
  • 6:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies
  • 6:10 pm – Canadian Forces Snowbirds
  • 7:00 pm – US Navy F/A 18 Super Hornet TAC Demo
  • 7:20 pm – USN Tailhook Legacy Flight
  • 7:30 pm – Jodi Rueger – Pitts Aerobatics
  • 7:40 pm – US Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team
  • 8:00 pm – USAF Heritage Flight
  • 8:05 pm – US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III
  • 8:15 pm – T-33 “Black Knight”
  • 8:25 pm – Yak110 – Jeff Boerboon
  • 8:35 pm – RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demo Team
  • 9:00 pm – Ghostwriter Airshows – Nathan Hammond
  • 9:15 pm – Show ends

 

Abbotsford Airshow Fireworks
Fireworks Night at the Abbotsford Airshow

 

Saturday, August 7th (2021) (Daytime Show)

  • 9:30 am – Gates are open
  • 11:00 am – Opening ceremonies
  • 11:10 am – Jodi Rueger – Pitts Aerobatics
  • 11:20 am – T-33 “Black Knight
  • 11:40 am – RCAF CP-140 Aurora Demo
  • 12:00 pm – RCAF Air-to-Air Refueling Demo
  • 12:10 pm – RCAF CH-148 Cyclone SAR Demo
  • 12:25 pm – US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet TAC Demo
  • 12:45 pm – USN Tailhook Legacy Flight
  • 12:50 pm – Warbird Display
  • 1:10 pm – Yak110 (with Jeff Boerboon)
  • 1:30 pm – Canadian Forces Snowbirds
  • 2:30 pm – Show ends

 

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

 

Saturday, August 7th (2021) (Twilight Show)

  • 4:30 pm – Gates are open
  • 6:00 pm – Opening ceremonies
  • 6:10 pm – Jodi Rueger – Pitts Aerobatics
  • 6:25 pm – US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet TAC Demo
  • 6:45 pm – USN Tailhook Legacy Flight
  • 6:50 pm – T-33 “Black Knight”
  • 7:00 pm – US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III
  • 7:10 pm – US Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team
  • 7:20 pm – USAF Heritage Flight
  • 7:35 pm – RCAF CH-149 Cormorant SAR Demo
  • 7:50 pm – Warbird Display
  • 8:10 pm – Yak110 – Jeff Boerboon
  • 8:25 pm – RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demo Team
  • 9:00 pm – Ghostwriter Airshows – Nathan Hammond
  • 9:15 pm – Show ends

 

Sunday August 8th (2021) (Daytime Show)

  • 9:30 am – Gates are open
  • 10:50 am – Opening ceremonies
  • 11:00 am – Jodi Rueger – Pitts Aerobatics
  • 11:10 am – RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demo Team
  • 11:35 am – T-33 “Black Knight”
  • 11:45 am – Ghostwriter Airshows – Nathan Hammond
  • 11:55 am – US Air Force Globemaster III
  • 12:05 pm – Warbird Display
  • 12:20 pm – US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet TAC Demo
  • 12:40 pm – USN Tailhook Legacy Flight
  • 12:45 pm – Canadian Forces Snowbirds
  • 1:35 pm – Yak110 – Jeff Boerboon
  • 1:50 pm – US Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team
  • 2:10 pm – USAF Heritage Flight
  • 2:30 pm – Show ends

 

Fighter Jet Display at Abbotsford Airshow
A fighter jet in the static display

 

Performers

Featured performers in 2021 include the following as of mid-June (but details are subject to change):

  • The Canadian Forces Snowbirds – Canada’s famous flight demonstration squadron.
  • F-22 Raptor – a single-seat fighter aircraft designed for the US Air Force.
  • CF-18 Hornet – a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft piloted by Captain Dan Deluce.
  • Yak-110 – a one-of-a-kind aircraft that’s two Yak-55 planes combined into one, piloted by Jeff Boerboon.
  • GhostWriter Airshows – an acrobatic flyer originally designed for the RCAF, piloted by Nathan K. Hammond.
  • Jodi Rueger – a veteran pilot and former flight instructor from London, Ontario.

 

Past Performers

Performers and demonstrators from past years have included the following:

 

USAF C-5 Galaxy at Abbotsford Airshow
USAF C-5 Galaxy

 

More Past Performers

Other planes and pilots that have participated in previous years include the following:

  • USAF C-5 Galaxy – a giant American military transport plane built by Lougheed and maintained by Lougheed Martin.
  • T-33 “Acemaker” Shooting Star – a fighter plane of the style used in the Korean War.
  • Rob Holland – the New England-based American stunt pilot performed in his all carbon-fiber American-made plane.
  • Gary Rower – the American stunt pilot entertained in the sky with his 450-horsepower flight trainer plane.
  • Buck Roetman – the American stunt pilot flew a 250-horsepower Lycoming IO360 built by Penn Yan Aero.
  • USAF Heritage Flight – an American flying team whose planes included a P-47 Thunderbolt (used in WWII and throughout the 1950s) and an A-1 Skyraider (used in the Korean and Vietnam wars).
  • F8F Bearcat – an American WWII piston-engine fighter plane designed to defend against Japanese kamikaze attacks.
  • Grumman F6F Hellcat – an American aircraft carrier-based fighter designed to fight against Japanese Zeros in the Second World War.
  • TBM-3E Avenger “Ida Red” – an American torpedo bomber first introduced in the early 1940s, later modified and then retired in the 1960s.
  • A-10 Thunderbolt II Demo – an air support plane from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the United States.
  • Yak 110 – a combination of two Yak-55 and a spare jet engine were used to create this innovative aircraft.

 

A-10 Thunderbolt II Demo
A-10 Thunderbolt II

 

Airshow Admission Prices

Tickets for the airshow in 2021 are sold by vehicle. The least expensive tickets cost $100 for up one driver and up to five additional passengers. The most expensive tickets cost $200. Tickets have to be purchased in advance online.

For comparison, in 2020, single-day admission for adults were going to range from around $25 to $40 (plus GST and online fees) depending on when and how tickets were purchased. That year’s event got cancelled, however, due to COVID-19.

Tickets are usually cheapest when purchased online and prior to August. Members of the military typically get in free (with valid ID), as do children under 6 years of age. Children ages 6 to 12 are about half the regular adult price, and multi-day passes are also available. Parking was $10 per vehicle for a day in past years.

Below was the planned early bird, regular online, at-the-gate and multi-day admission rates for 2020. All prices were plus GST and online fees.

 

Early Bird Tickets (in 2020)

  • Adults (ages 13+) – $25 per day or $40 for the weekend
  • Children (ages 6 to 12) – $12.50 per day or $20 for the weekend
  • Family Passes (2 adults and 2 children ages 6 to 17) – $65 per day (including parking)
  • Children (under 5 years of age) – Free
  • Members of the Military – Free

 

Online Tickets (purchased after July 31st, 2020)

  • Adults (ages 13+) – $32 per day or $50 for the weekend
  • Children (ages 6 to 12) – $16 per day or $25 for the weekend
  • Family Passes (2 adults and 2 children ages 6 to 17) – $75 per day (including parking)
  • Children (under 5 years of age) – Free
  • Members of the Military – Free

 

Tickets at the Gate (in 2020)

  • Adults (ages 13+) – $40 per day or $60 for the weekend
  • Children (ages 6 to 12) – $20 per day or $30 for the weekend
  • Family Passes (2 adults and 2 children ages 6 to 17) – $90 per day (including parking)
  • Children (under 5 years of age) – Free
  • Members of the Military – Free

(Note: No tickets will be sold at the gate for the 2021 event, so make sure to get yours online!)

 

Abbotsford Airshow Grounds and Grandstand
General seating with the Grandstand in the distance

 

Premium Seating Options

In addition to the above costs for general admission, once inside the venue visitors usually have the option to pay extra for premium seating.

In previous years, for folks who are 19+, there was the option of sitting in the Grandstand area which also featured a special craft beer garden. VIP Grandstand admission cost around $75 and included reserved Grandstand seating, a couple of beers and VIP parking.

In 2020 there was going to be Runway Seating (for $10-$20 extra), Family Club Seating (for between $20 and $30 extra) and Flight Club Seating (for between $65 and $80 extra). Prices for each of these sections were to be in addition to the regular cost of gate admission.

Runway Seating would have got you a chair near the runaway. Family Club Seating included patio seating and two non-alcoholic beverages. The Flight Club Zone was for folks ages 19+ and included patio-style seating, a barbecue lunch and a couple of complimentary beverages.

Note: A couple of years ago the Craft Beer Garden in the Grandstand area featured only beers, so no ciders or other kinds of alcoholic beverages. Future beer garden areas may be similar (which can be disappointing for non-beer drinkers).

 

Canadian Snowbird Planes at Abbotsford
Snowbirds at the Abbotsford Airshow

 

Tips and Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to the airshow.

TIP #1: It can get hot in August in Abbotsford on a sunny day. Be sure to bring plenty to drink, or plan to buy refreshments there.

TIP #2: Bring a lawn chair, blanket or something else to sit on, plus a hat to wear as there is little or no shade.

TIP #3: Admission for both active members of the military and veterans is free. If you qualify, make sure to take your ID as proof of service.

TIP #4: If attending the Friday night fireworks, try to get to your car at the end as soon as you can. Be prepared for lots of traffic and have patience!

TIP #5: If you can’t make the Abbotsford Airshow but absolutely love planes, then check out the Canadian Museum of Flight. Located in Hangar #3 at 5333 216th Street in Langley, it’s a small to medium-sized museum with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

TIP #6: The Abbotsford Airshow can be a great event for the entire family. For young kids though (or anyone with very sensitive ears) it might not hurt to bring a set of ear plugs for the especially noisy jets.

 

Abbotsford Airshow
Young Girl with Ear Protectors

 

Other Information

To learn more about the event, or to buy tickets, see the Abbotsford Airshow‘s website.

For more information about the region, check out Abbotsford or the Fraser Valley.

For ideas on other things to do, check out our August Calendar of Events or click Festivals & Events.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: