His call sign needs little explanation.
Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu likes to fly high.
Beaulieu will do just that as he thrills audiences in a CF-18 jet at today’s Rocky Mountain House Airshow.
Beaulieu, the Hornet demo pilot, is part of the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bagotville, Quebec.
The 34-year-old says he likes the change of scene in the fighter pilot life and travelling across North America. His gig with the demo team is for one year.
“It’s only 20 minutes and I have to land after 20 minutes because I use so much power,” he said. “I use full power through the demo routine that I burn all my gas very quick. It’s a very aggressive flight and it’s pretty intense.”
The five-month demo season at airshows starts in May and wraps up in September for the Canadian Forces F-18 demo team. There are seven members on the team.
“So far, so good,” said Beaulieu. “We always err on the side of safety. That’s why we have an arresting cable in Rocky Mountain because of the high altitude and short run way.”
He said there have been some close calls with birds but that’s expected when you are flying in their territory.
The jet’s design commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. British, Canada and allied fighter pilots pushed back the Germans in the battle.
The aviation show will also feature the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Super Dave Mathieson, one of stars on the hit Airshow on the Discovery Channel, the Granley Family Airshows, Stefan Trischuk and much more.
The Canadian Forces Skyhawks will demonstrate the amazing things that can done with a parachute.
Team captain Jake Porter said they are looking forward to performing in Rocky after a great show in Springbank.
“We will be doing all sorts of stunts that you didn’t think were possible with a parachute,” he said.
That includes controlled collisions in the air with some leg locks, parachute flipping and much more.
A B-17G Sentimental Journey and the B-25 Maid in the Shade from the Arizona Commemorative Air Force will be grounded on show day with paid rides the next day.
But you do not have to be an aviation enthusiast to have a good time at the show.
“Some people go to a hockey game and they don’t know what an offside is,” laughed Ken Fowler, airport manager and pilot. “This show has the largest line up in Alberta. It is a lot of fun.”
Fowler, who is part of the Team Rocket duo, built his speedy plane, a Harmon Rocket in 1997. The Rocky Mountain House pilot has flown all over Canada, the U.S. and Central Alberta for airshows. The rocket cruises at about 240 miles per hour.
Look for his amazing formation aerobatics with partner Eric Hansen in his identical plane.
The gates open at 2 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain House Airshow. Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. show can be picked up at the door. Tickets at the door are $25. For more information, visit www.rockymtnhouseairshow.com