Quinte International Air Show 2016 commemorates BCATP

News Article / July 14, 2016

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By Alexandra Baillie-David

The 2016 Quinte International Air Show, held at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario from June 25-26, 2016, commemorated the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

From 1939 and 1945, more than 131,000 aircrew graduated from flying schools across Canada during the Second World War. The Plan trained pilots, navigators, wireless operators, bomb aimers and flight engineers, many of whom went on to serve overseas upon completion of their training.  

But without the top-notch instructor programs operating out of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Trenton, those students would have never gotten off the ground.

“RCAF Station Trenton hosted and supported a number of BCATP schools in the Quinte area, but its primary contribution was in training the trainers,” said Major Bill March. “From pilot to aircrew to basic training instructors, Trenton’s instructor training programs had a positive impact on the Plan on a national scale.”

Due to its status as a permanent active military base, RCAF Station Trenton was chosen as the location of a BCATP memorial. “The gates would have a secure home and serve as inspiration for future generations of Air Force personnel,” explained Major March.

The ornate wrought-iron Memorial Gates, situated in front of the parade square, were erected in September 1949 and dedicated by Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth II – in October 1951.

The Quinte International Air Show was the first of its nature since 2003 and hosted nearly 80,000 spectators throughout the weekend.

To honour the achievements of the BCATP during the airshow, the Harvard Formation Team from the Canadian Harvard Association performed a special flypast reminiscent of the days when noisy yellow trainers filled the skies over Canada more than 70 years ago.   

Among the modern RCAF performers were the CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft and CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron and the CC-177 Globemaster heavy lift transport aircraft from 429 Transport Squadron, both located in Trenton. The 2016 CF-18 Demonstration Hornet, painted in BCATP colours reflecting this year’s RCAF theme, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds also took to the skies during the show.

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