Smiling skydiver surveys UFV’s 727 display at the Abbotsford International Airshow

Leslie skydive Abby Airshow-11-4x6

UFV University Relations Executive Director Leslie Courchesne listens to last-minute instructions from her SkyHawks tandem partner before jumping out of a Twin Otter plane at 12,000-ft.

At 12,000 feet above fertile Fraser Valley farmland, quality control reached new heights ahead of this weekend’s Abbotsford International Airshow.

A proud sponsor of the famous airshow, the University of the Fraser Valley once again opens the hatch for public tours of its enormous Boeing 727 used to train Aircraft Structure Technicians. And what better way to check on the giant jet’s progress than leaping from a perfectly good airplane?

Strapped to an elite skydiver from the Canadian Army’s SkyHawks demonstration team on Thursday, UFV’s University Relations Executive Director Leslie Courchesne leapt into the bright blue sky to get a bird’s-eye view of UFV’s latest static display.

With beautiful views high above the Fraser River and far-flung mountains, a SkyHawks cameraman captured Courchesne’s 50-second freefall and seven-minute parachute descent from a bright yellow Twin Otter aircraft.

“We love being a part of the community and that’s why we’re so excited to be sponsoring the Abbotsford International Airshow this weekend,” Courchesne said with both feet firmly on the ground.

She’s also encouraging spectators to get a rare hands-on feel behind the big Boeing’s yoke.

“Be sure to come to our 727 and get your picture taken in the cockpit!”

For more information on UFV’s Aircraft Structure Technician program, visit ufv.ca/aerospace.

The Abbotsford International Airshow runs Aug. 12-14. Learn more at abbotsfordairshow.com.

Abby airshow Boeing 727

A father takes a photo of his son in the cockpit of UFV’s 727 during the 2015 Abbotsford International Airshow.

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