While the 2024 Duluth Airshow just wrapped up in mid-May, Minnesota's largest air show is getting an encore of sorts later this summer in the Twin Ports area.

In a press event on Wednesday morning held at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior, a new one-time air show event was announced for the Twin Ports area in July.

Duluth Airshow organizer Ryan Kern broke the news that Duluth is one of a select few cities in the United States that will play host to the Royal Canadian Air Force's 100th Anniversary Air Show tour, with the goal of highlighting the long-standing partnership between the United States and Canada.

The Duluth event is being billed as the Duluth Air Spectacular, set to be held at the end of July. It taps into the RCAF's series of air show performances this summer across Canada to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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Included in that will be a show just south of the border as Duluth hosts the RCAF Snowbirds Air Demonstration Team, which is Canada's equivalent to the US Navy Blue Angels or US Air Force Thunderbirds.

Kern shared that while you can expect a spectacular show with the RCAF's CT-114s during this event presented locally by Enbridge, there will be some differences from what you may be used to with the Duluth Airshow.

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The most notable is the venue. Rather than being at the airport, the show will be held over Lake Superior, flying along the Duluth shoreline. This will make this free show easy to see from several vantage points in Duluth, including along the Lakewalk, from the Rose Garden, Canal Park, and along the hillside.

Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
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Kern noted that viewing the show from places like Skyline Parkway will offer a unique view you can't get during the Duluth Airshow, being able to see the jets from hundreds of feet above the air show "floor" of Lake Superior.

To accompany this show, you'll be able to tune in to the Northland FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM or the Northland FAN mobile app to hear the show announcers from anywhere so you can get the live announcer commentary from wherever you want to watch in the Twin Ports. In addition, Kern says a streaming video pre-show will be available via the event's website.

Another exciting difference between this free show and the Duluth Airshow is that unlike the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels who fly 6 jets in a show, the RCAF Snowrbirds fly 9 jets in a show, adding even more to watch.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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Duluth Mayor Roger Reinert shared his excitement for this free community event that will spotlight Duluth's strong relationship with Canada as well as with the aviation industry. He referred to this show as a "lifetime event". Reinert noted that this will be the first time the Snowbirds have been to Duluth for a performance over Lake Superior since a show conducted in 2008.

Kern explained that Reinert had to play a political role in making the show happen, having to formally write a letter to the Canadian government to invite them to Duluth to perform this show on Wednesday, July 31.

In discussing the logistics of doing an air show over the lake as opposed to at an airport, Kern explained that there are some unique logistical challenges. For example, they will be deploying autonomous buoys to mark the "show box" for pilots to safely navigate during the show.

These autonomous buoys are a pretty new technology that Kern says will serve as a roadmap for other air shows that conduct performances over water on how they function. These buoys will help cut down on deployment and retrieval time as well as help in keeping the shipping lanes as unaffected as possible before, during, and after the show.

The show will be held during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 31, 2024. Additional details about the show will be announced as the show draws closer. We'll have more details on our station websites as those details are announced.

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Gallery Credit: Samm Adams

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