One of the most recognizable of Canadian Airshow Duo’s! We are delighted to Welcome our friends David and Drew Watson back to Vanderhoof in 2018! Tha’t right, it’s Yellow Thunder!! Enjoy the presence of the Harvard while you watch them. Listen to the unmistakable music the radial engine makes, and the rapping the propeller makes as its tips break the sound barrier. The Harvard is a significant airplane in our Canadian heritage; David and Drew are honoured to demonstrate it.
David grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and after moving through Toronto and Calgary, now resides in Beaumont, Alberta. David is a business owner of which he begain with his father over 20 years ago. Today he flies purely for recreation; he enjoys the discipline and skill required for aerobatic and formation flying.
In David’s younger years, he tagged along with his father and other Western Warbird Association members, flying (or riding) in everything from Chipmunks, Harvards, Mentors, Expeditors, and a wide variety of other warbirds.
He trained for his pilot’s license in the last Fleet Canuck in the Edmonton Flying Club fleet (C-FEOH) in 1985. Later that year, he immediately acquired a Harvard endorsement flying his father’s Harvard; the same aircraft he now owns and flies in the airshow circuit.
Over the years, David received some basic aerobatic training and has practiced aerobatics regularly since 2002. In 2007, he purchased a Yak-52 aircraft to fly competition aerobatics. David won first place in Sportsman’s category in 2009 – his first contest. David no longer competes, but now has focused his aerobatics in his Harvard.
David now combines his talents of aerobatics and formation flying to demonstrate his abilities to crowds in the Western parts of Canada and the United States.
Drew resides in Edmonton with his wife, Wendy, and two teenage children. Drew is a business owner in the information technology sector, providing consulting services to businesses in the Edmonton region. Drew is a lifelong learner who, among his aviation education, is a recent graduate of Grant MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Commerce program.
Drew’s passion for warbirds started when he had his first ride in his father’s ex-RCAF Chipmunk. Drew was exposed to more warbirds as he grew up while travelling to various airshows, fly-ins, and social gatherings with his father. At these events Drew managed to scrounge rides by cleaning airplanes for their owners; these rides were in a variety of ex-military aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, B-25 “Mitchell” Bomber, Harvard, Cessna Crane “The Bamboo Bomber”, Stearman, and the Beech 18 ‘Expeditor’.
Drew purchased his first airplane, a Fleet Canuck, in 2000 and obtained his private pilot license in this airplane in 2002. Within two years, and a whole lot of practice, Drew was checked out in his father’s Harvard, now owned by his brother, David. Drew purchased his Harvard in 2002 from a family friend and used this airplane to get his commercial license shortly thereafter. Drew now mostly flies small twin engine airplanes for various companies in Central Alberta.
Drew can be found flying his Harvard with his brother, David, in the Ponoka, Alberta area or at various airshows in Western Canada and the United States.
The Routine – Solo and Formation Aerobatics – The foundation of our aerobatic manouvers is from the RCAF. They were manouvers that were taught to advance the pilot’s hand and foot coordination with the airplane. They are also foundation manouvers for dogfighting, which would be used in the next airplane the student would move onto; usually the P-15 Mustang, the Spitfire, or the Hurricane.
The formation content in our display is used in pilot training, both pre and post war. Formation tactics are taught to this day. Our formation demonstration moves past what most military students are taught and include aerobatics. Formation aerobatics is demanding on both the pilot and airplane. The wingman, during our formation loop, for example, has to travel an extra 550 ft (167 metres) because of his positioning on the lead airplane. Considering the airplanes start the loop at 85% power, remaining power in insufficient to maintain formation.
Our demonstrations include, depending upon weather, a combination of:
formation barrel rolls
formation banana passes
a tail chase
lots of smoke