Jet pilot fulfils longtime dream

IF YOU thought you heard a jet flying over the area a couple of weekends ago, that’s exactly what it was, piloted by a former resident whose dream was to land here in a CF-18 one day.

MAJOR BRIAN Cox gets ready to take off in his CF-18 jet from the local airport after visiting here at the end of August.

MAJOR BRIAN Cox gets ready to take off in his CF-18 jet from the local airport after visiting here at the end of August.

IF YOU thought you heard a jet flying over the area a couple of weekends ago, that’s exactly what it was, piloted by a former resident whose dream was to land here in a CF-18 one day.

Royal Canadian Air Force Major Brian Cox, who was born and raised here, got permission to stop here to refuel on his flight from Alaska, where he was on exercises, back to CFB Bagotville, Quebec, where he’s stationed, Aug. 27.

He was able to stay for about five hours and have lunch with his parents, who just happened to be visiting here from their home in Osoyoos, and friends, says his dad Harold.

“It worked out just perfect,” says Harold.

“It was a dream that he always wanted to do,” he adds about Brian wanting to land a CF-18 jet here since he began flying them about 10 years ago and finally getting the chance.

“I can tell you as a parent, you want your kids to do well. You want them to succeed and fulfil their dreams and it’s a dream he had so when he got to do it, my heart was pounding, too.”

Brian also had time here to see his old house and his friend’s place, adds Harold.

He had been planning the landing for about a month now.

“So he got permission [to land here] depending on the weather. He waited in Fairbanks  [Alaska] for a couple of hours for the weather to clear in Terrace to make sure it was ok because there was no turning point,” said Harold.

That morning, he emailed his dad to say he wasn’t leaving for a couple of hours as the weather in Terrace was pretty iffy and that he had Prince George lined up as an alternate place to refuel.

“At that time, I looked out and it was raining a little bit but I did see a little bit of blue sky so I wrote him back and said I can see a patch of blue sky and I went out a little later and there wasn’t a patch of blue sky anywhere,” said Harold.

So with the delay in leaving Alaska, Brian was able to come in here at 2:30 p.m., he added.

Over the years, Brian tried to plan a CF-18 landing here and at one point, there was talk of having him come in to perform some acrobatics at an air show but that never happened, said Harold.

Brian has been in the air force for 19 years, joining two weeks after he graduated from Caledonia. He wanted to fly since he was five-years-old and got his pilot’s licence when he was 18-years-old, said Harold.

“Every flight is better than the flight before,” said Harold.