Major Indira Thackorie, NECAS President
IDM Communications / Canadian Forces Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer - 2016 season
Indira Thackorie is the only "solo" female air show announcer working today in North America. She entered the air show community more than 15 years ago through the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto, Ontario, by working as a volunteer with the Media and Public Relations Committee. Since then she has contributed event management, public relations and marketing skills to numerous events and other organizations.
Indira is as a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces and worked full time for 19 years. Having joined the Canadian Army at the age of 17, she attained the rank of Sergeant before commissioning as a Public Affairs Officer in 2008. She has operationally deployed twice; first with the United Nations in the Golan Heights, Israel (2002); and to Kandahar, Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom (2006).
Beginning in 2010, Indira had the honour of serving as the Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks, for three consecutive seasons. In this time she announced more than 70 air shows and public events across North America. Indira has also presented at other marquee events, including the Canadian Forces' Musical Salute at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto; and Fortissimo (military music spectacular), the premiere event of the summer tourist season in the National Capital Region.
Born in Trinidad & Tobago she moved with her family to Canada in 1990 and has since traveled extensively. She has also worked as a part-time professor at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Indira's passion is people. Her enthusiastic speaking style comes from a professional communications background that is energized by a love of air shows. When you hear the sound of her voice, you'll know you're in the right place.
Dave Hewitt, NECAS Vice President
Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team
Dave was born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario. He married his high school sweetheart and is a proud father of two teenage boys. Graduating in 1993 with a BASC in Mechanical Engineering Degree and a minor in Organizational Behaviour from Waterloo University, Dave’s entrepreneurial spirit found him Founder of a Metal Stampings Plant at age 25, expanding 5 times and finally being sold in 2015. He is also the Founding President of an automotive tubular parts plant which is still growing today.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Dave became a private pilot in 1989. He soloed in a Harvard two months later and started his formation career immediately, presently having a Commercial License and over 1600 hours PIC. Developing his piloting, formation and aerobatic skills he eventually co-founded the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team (CHAT) Inc. in 2000. Currently, Dave is #2, Right Wing and Coordinator of CHAT and also flies, when time allows, a Boeing Stearman, Expeditor 3NM (Beech 18), Citabria 7KCAB, Piper J3 Cub, Hawker Hurricane, Yale, and other aircraft. Dave has been a part of the aviation community for 27 years, a member of ICAS for 15 years and joined the NECAS Board in 2017.
John (Jack) McMahon, NECAS Treasurer
Air Heritage Museum
Jack McMahon graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in December 1968 and entered USAF pilot training in January 1969. After completion of pilot training in January 1970, came F 102 school and then F 106 school. During the next 4 years of flying the “6” came assignments first to the 94th FIS, then the 2nd FIS and finally the 49FIS. After a tour in Korea, Jack left active duty and joined the Air Force Reserves in Pittsburgh where he flew the C 123 Provider, then the C130A and finally the C130H2. During the next 20+ years there were Panama rotations; Caribbean hurricane relief missions; and a Desert Shield Deployment, in addition to numerous training missions. These all lead to retirement in 1995.
After retiring from civilian employment in 2006 and moving back to Pittsburgh, Jack joined the Air Heritage Museum. After an almost a 30 year absence, he was back to flying the Air Heritage Museum C 123 known as “Thunder Pig”. Currently, Thunder Pig is the last flying C 123 in the US. He says the expression of the Vietnam veterans that board the aircraft make all the effort to keep it flying worthwhile. Jack is Air Show Manager for the museum. His job is arranging air shows and negotiating with production companies on the use of our aircraft in TV and movies.
Dan Fortin, NECAS Secretary
Team Lead, YAK Attack Airshows
Dan is a corporate pilot who began his flying career with gliders at the young age of 16. Like many kids in Canada, Dan’s dream took him to the Canadian Forces where he was allowed to perfect his flying skills and get his first taste of aerobatics. In his career, Dan flew many different airplanes ranging from single seat gliders to heavy corporate jets. Dan also served as Chief Pilot for the Northern Lights Aerobatic Team (Military contracts division) where he received type ratings for high-performance airplanes like the Fouga Magister, L39 Albatros, and the mighty Hawker Hunter. Dan has been a CJ6 operator since 1996 and has accumulated over 900 hrs in type. Dan is a Formation Lead / Check Pilot and is a lifetime member of the Canadian Warplane Museum. After flying aerobatic for nearly 10 years in his CJ6, Dan finally decided to move into airshow flying in 2005 and obtained a Transport Canada Statement of Aerobatic Competency and has since performed at various air shows in Canada and the North East USA. Dan holds a Surface SAC on both the CJ6 and the L29 for solo and formation aerobatics.
Major Benjamin Canetti
Thunder of Niagara Air Show
Ben Canetti, U.S. Air Force Reserve evaluator pilot, is the current Chief of Current Operations at the 914th Airlift Wing in Niagara Falls, New York. Ben’s history with air shows began the instant he joined the Air Force, as he was sworn in by the United States Air Force Aerial Demonstration Team, known as the Thunderbirds in 1992 at the Thunder of Niagara Air Show. Throughout his military career, Ben has been involved in various levels of air show coordination in past shows at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. In 1998 and 2000 he served as the ground static coordinator in which he supervised all of the ground displays. In 2001 and 2004, he was in command of all of the aerial acts of the Thunder Over Niagara Air Shows as the air operations officer. During this time, Ben developed and implemented a program which incorporated all entities of the air show in one living document which greatly improved air show oversight for event leadership. The program Ben developed has been successfully utilized by military air shows around the nation. Most recently, Ben served as 2011 Thunder of Niagara Air Show Director. Under his leadership and vision, the air show professionally and respectfully honored the victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks and attracted more than 150,000 guests in a two day period. Ben firmly believes that air shows are the perfect way to showcase and highlight the precision and superior aviation abilities of military as well as civilian pilots, aircrews and maintainers. Ben naturally progressed to knowing his way around different types of air frames during his climb up the military ranks. Ben started his aviation career as an enlisted jet engine maintainer on the C‐5 Galaxy and C‐130 flight engineer. After receiving his bachelor’s degree Ben earned his commission through Officer training School and became a C‐130 pilot. As both enlisted and officer, Ben’s combat experience spans two decades as he has served in multiple military operations including, Operation Support Hope as well as The Kosovo War. In more recent operations, Ben has served as a command pilot in countless combat missions in four deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ben currently resides in Clarence Center, NY and is the proud father of two daughters, Taylor, 8 and Camryn, 5.
Dave "Huggie" Cooper
Rochester International Airshow
Dave Cooper is a native of Pennsylvania, who attended his first airshow in 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio while taking private pilot lessons. He was hooked after watching Bob Hoover’s performance in the “Shrike Commander.” At the time, he was a consulting petroleum engineer in the oil and gas business in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1985, he formed “Just Plane People”, a traveling airshow novelty company that participated in over 550 events nationwide from 1985 until 1999. In 1990, Dave moved to Geneseo, NY to independently manage the gift shop and away airshow novelty operations for the National Warplane Museum. In 1994, he was back on the road as a novelty vendor and airshow operations consultant throughout the U.S. In 1998 and 1999, Dave was a consultant to the Promotional Management Group and principal advisor to the March Airfest at March Air Reserve Base in California in the conduct of airshows at a military base. In 2000, he joined Beau Productions as the airshow coordinator for the Rochester International Airshow. Dave is now the Managing Director of PEC Management, LLC, which was awarded the contract to produce the Rochester International Airshow through to 2020, with extensions. In his free time, Dave collects antique glass and serves on the Board of Directors for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Dave holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing/Finance from Ohio University.