Our neighbors to the north will be making their Battle Creek debut in 2018. The Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, based out of Woodstock, Ontario, is a professional 4-plane formation aerobatic team which flies as a tribute to the veterans of World War II, and to inspire others through teamwork and passion. The team flies 3 Canadian Built Harvards and 1 American built Harvard. The Harvard is a Pratt & Whitney powered, dual tandem seated, low winged metal monoplane (with the exception of fabric covered control surfaces). Originally used as advanced trainers by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for the purposes of night, formation, aerobatic, light bombing and gunnery (later rocketry) training. We know the Harvard by the name of the T-6 Texan or SNJ in the United States. The 4 aircraft the team flies today were all built between 1941 and 1952. They have been in continuous service for over 60 years due to the care and support of their operators.
The Team Members of the CHAT are:
- #1 Pete Spence (a twenty year air show veteran)
- #2 Dave Hewitt (A twenty year air show veteran)
- #3 Kent Beckham (A pilot with a major Canadian airline, twenty year air show veteran and Hollywood Stunt Pilot for ‘Iron Eagle IV')
- #4 Marco Rusconi (Originally from Italy, he had a career with the Royal Canadian Air Force and served 4 years on the Canadian Forces Snowbirds team)
To not only see yellow Harvards against a blue sky billowing light smoke, but hear and feel their pulse is an incredible experience shared with Air Show spectators. The combination of subsonic, transonic and supersonic sections of the prop release a roar that is the music of the Harvard. It’s all about energy management. Potential energy (altitude) being traded for kinetic energy (airspeed) and back again results in a beyond belief show larger than your stationary field of vision. You’ll have to crane your neck to take in the full experience. Mouths will be agape, and tonsils will be sunburned. Unlike jets which pass for a fleeting moment, CHAT dominates center stage without dead sky limited only by the surface of the Earth itself.
Although Pete, Dave, Kent & Marco use these three-ton aircraft masterfully to perform a tight aerial sequence with upbeat background music, better modern aircraft exist that would make the task much easier – but they just wouldn’t have the same presence in the afternoon sky. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. Don’t miss the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, coming to America from Canada to perform at one of the BEST Air Shows in North America right here in Battle Creek for BOTH Air Shows, June 30 – July 1 AND July 3 - 4.