January 5, 2023

Alberta Air Tours 2022 year in review

Jon Robinson

— Provided by the Alberta Air Tours Committee

The year 2022 brought tremendous change and learning for the Alberta Air Tours. With the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic fading, we saw more pilots and members of the public than ever coming to the tour stops.

We kicked off our 2022 event schedule with our North Tour, starting in Lloydminster, where we were treated to a pancake breakfast thanks to the 186 RCAC Squadron. We estimated that more than 300 locals attended, with our registration filled with 40 aircraft (including a handful of light twins and homebuilt aircraft). From Lloydminster, Alberta Air Tours (AAT) visited St. Paul, with a huge community celebration including food kiosks, a jumpy tent and a Farmer’s Market. After basking in the afternoon sun (many of us leaving with sunburns), we left for Cold Lake. It was undoubtedly a unique opportunity to fly over CFB Cold Lake as we descended for Cold Lake Regional.

Due to weather concerns, the format of the South Tour had to change. While we did not have the coordinated cross-country that our tours usually do, we had two exceptional stops in Medicine Hat and Claresholm. COPA Flight 171 in Medicine Hat organized a pancake breakfast making for a fantastic morning of aviation. Claresholm hosted a barbecue-style lunch with displays from the local burnout club, Claresholm Fire, M.D. of Willow Creek Bylaw Enforcement, and the Claresholm RCMP. Due to incoming weather, the stop at Claresholm was cut short. Even with the adversities of Southern Alberta weather, the locals came out to see what the AAT is all about.

This year, the AAT Committee has experienced much growth, with the introduction of three new committee members, being granted approval as COPA Flight 220, and seeking societal status through the Government of Alberta.

Looking forward to 2023, we have three tours in the works, including an overnight trip to Grande Prairie to kick off Canada Day with plans to fly by several towns culminating in Slave Lake where many events are being planned.

We cannot thank you enough for your continued support as we learn and develop as an organization, and we hope to see you in 2023.