Since 1966, performers at the Abbotsford International Airshow have been wowing onlookers with mind-boggling maneuvers and high-flying antics.
This year will be no different, as 20 of the world’s best aerobatic pilots and teams take to the sky for a series of performances at the Abbotsford Airport all weekend long.
Created in 2003 by Swiss watchmaking company Breitling, the Breitling Jet Team will be participating in the Abbotsford show for the second year in a row.
Based in Dijon, France, the team is made up of seven pilots and seven L-39C Albatros jets. Most of the pilots flew fighter jets and were members of the French Air Force before becoming part of the Breitling team.
The Straight was in Abbotsford ahead of the festival to check out the team and experience the speed and precision of the team on Thursday.
Pilot Bernard “Charbo” Charbonnel, who guided us through an exhilarating flight, was a fighter pilot in the French Air Force for 20 years. He has more than 8,000 flight hours and has been flying airplanes since he was 15 years old.
“It’s inside, it’s passion, since I was very young,” said Charbonnel of his love for flying.
“It’s my life, and what I love about this job is that I get to travel a lot, to meet people, and to share the team spirit, because it’s a team job.”
Even after being with Breitling for 13 years, Charbonnel says he still gets excited for every flight.
Watch below for a view from one of Breitling’s jets during a practice maneuver earlier this week.
Click here for more information about the Abbotsford International Airshow.