Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

F-14 Tomcat's scram wows air-show fans

  • Print
THE wild blue yonder was distinctly grey yesterday afternoon, but that didn't hinder the mighty Tomcat's astounding debut prowl at the Winnipeg Air Show.

Eyes turned toward the heavens, hands covered ears, and jaws collectively dropped as the spectacular F-14 Tomcat, the pride and joy of the U.S. Navy, soared past a huge crowd on Day 1 of the annual aviation extravaganza.

It marked the first time the jet -- with speeds exceeding Mach 2, or about 2,400 km-h -- has been included in the air show, which proceeded with just a few minor program changes despite the cool, wet and windy conditions and very low cloud cover.

And fans, many in their rain gear, were duly impressed.

"It's unbelievable something that big can go that fast," said Richard Carradice, 41, of Winnipeg, who had the entire family out to see the sky-high exhibition. "They said it weighs like 30 tons, and yet the way it manoeuvres is unreal."

The F-14 Tomcat was the jet featured in the 1986 Hollywood blockbuster Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise.

"That's Tom's plane," one fan shouted as it made its second high-speed, deafening pass. "I can't believe it's actually here."

Carradice's nine-year-old daughter Erin admitted she stuffed her fingers in her ears when the fierce fighter stormed by.

"It was cool, but it was loud," she said. "I like to watch planes, but I'm not the biggest fan of flying. That's too fast and scary for me, like when they do all the flips."

As it rocketed past the throng of spectators, pilot Lt. Andrew (Stik) Mrstik's voice boomed over the public address system: "It's great to be in Canada," he said.

Top-gun wannabe Kevin Harder, sitting in the VIP area, was in his glory.

"This is like Christmas for me," he said. "You don't get to see aircraft like this around here. We see Hercules in the skies every day, but these U.S. fighters are amazing."

Harder, there with partner Orianne Donig and their two daughters, said he's been dreaming of soaring through the clouds since he was a kid.

"When I win the lottery, I'm taking flying lessons," he joked.

While the Tomcat was the big star of the show, smaller jets such as the CF-18 Hornets, CF-5 Freedom Fighters and F-16 Falcons were also a huge hit yesterday.

The always popular Snowbirds squadron did its thing, too.

Don Marion, 55, was just as impressed with the Griffon helicopter and its search-and-rescue demonstration, in which a man slid down a rope to the ground to aid a mock disaster victim. The victim was placed on a stretcher, then hoisted back up to the hovering helicopter.

"With these winds, he's risking his life for our entertainment," laughed Marion. "It's very impressive. Apparently, they patrol from Timmins, Ont., to the Rockies. I'm glad they're out there for us."

Air show executive director Barry Lynds said the event tries to offer something for everyone.

"For me, the Tomcat is the real show-stealer this year. But whether you like the jets, the old war birds, the stunts or the helicopters, there's lots to see," said Lynds, adding he was flying high with a tremendous turnout, despite the weather.

"The show has gained a certain status where we are getting the very best performers available. They'll only go to shows that are safe and well-organized.

"We have 500 volunteers -- the backbone of the show. And they've done a heck of a job."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Cali For Jets Nation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google