Tag Archives: Discovery

Preview: High-flying Airshow spotlights daredevils of the skies

I love airshows. I would not love to be a passenger in one of the planes that participate in them. Those loops, dives and stalls excite me when I’m safely on the ground but the thought of experiencing them first-hand causes my stomach to churn.

Those feelings were further driven home by Discovery’s latest series, Airshow, debuting tonight. To put it bluntly, I just don’t have the stuff to get behind the stick—or climb along the wing—that these folks do. But I’m more than happy to sit back and watch. Produced by Great Pacific TV, the same folks behind Highway Thru Hell, Airshow is stunning to watch on an HD TV. Bright paint, blue sky, black asphalt and multicoloured flight outfits pop as these folks explain not only their reasoning behind making a career out of performing in airshows but the inherent danger—and touch of crazy—involved.

Things don’t start all that promisingly. The awful footage of wing walker Jane Wicker and her pilot Charlie Schwenker, crashing and dying in an Ohio airshow in 2013 is shown before introducing viewers to former bush pilot and airline owner “Super Dave” Mathieson who admits to being bitten by the airplane bug when he was a youngster. Wing walker Carol Pilon is up next, describing the feeling of having the wind whip by her as she stands outside of her own airplane. Additional featured storylines in Episode 1 include rookie Stefan Trischuck and his Pitts Special and airbus Donna Flynn, who runs airshows.

Offsetting the interviews and airshow footage from the ground is stunning in-air stuff showcasing Dave performing in his MX-2 and Carol on her Stearman Bi-plane with veteran Marcus Paine at the controls; future episodes boast reel of The Patriots, Pete McLeod, Jon Melby and Sean Tucker taking to the skies.

If you’ve wanted to know what it’s like to fly in one of these planes alongside industry veterans, strap in and catch Airshow.

Airshow airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

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Canada’s Worst Driver celebrates 10 years behind the wheel

One can’t help but be a little ashamed of the fact Canada’s Worst Driver is celebrating 10 seasons on the air. As much as I hate it when shows get cancelled, it would have been nice if Discovery had announced–after a couple of instalments–that no bad drivers could be found for Season 3 or beyond.

Alas, that isn’t the case. Andrew Younghusband, the overseer of the asphalt atrocities, returns to host the Monday night spectacle that once again welcomes eight new participants to the show’s top-secret driving academy where they are put through various challenges in an effort to not only entertain but educate bad drivers about how they can be more safe when behind the wheel. Along for the ride are Cam Woolley, traffic expert and former OPP sergeant; Philippe Létourneau, a professional high-performance driving instructor; expert driving instructor Tim Danter; and therapist Shyamala Kiru.

We asked Younghusband to give us his Top 10 tips–one for each season of the show–for being a safe driver.

10. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever drive with a cell phone!

9. If you need to swerve in a car that doesn’t have ABS (anti-lock braking system), don’t hit the brake until after the swerve is done.

8. Get a car with ABS.

7. Get winter tires installed before the first freeze happens every year.

6. Learning to do donuts in a safe, private area will make you a better driver.

5. To reposition a car laterally, drive forward in an “S”, then reverse straight back.

4. Cam Wooley is damn cute.

3. Every Canadian province needs stricter testing with regards to how drivers get their licence.

2. Don’t look at an object you’re trying to avoid.

1. Look where you want to go.

Canada’s Worst Driver airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery

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Highway Thru Hell slides into Season 3

It takes a special kind of person to want to drive tractor trailer loads of supplies along the notoriously dangerous Coquihalla Highway during the winter around Hope, B.C. But it takes an even more special kind of person (some may say “nuts”) to pull crashed tractor trailers out of the ditches along the Coq. Meet Jamie Davis, whose company, Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue, has been doing it for over a decade.

Davis and his motley assortment of drivers, mechanics and staff are back behind the wheel for Season 3 of Highway Thru Hell–returning to Discovery with 13 new episodes tonight–and the stress and danger has been doubled for the grizzled road veteran. A drop in business in B.C. meant Davis needed to explore other options, leading to an opportunity for his company to patrol Alberta’s Highway 881 and 63, the former the only lifeline between Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray in the newly discovered oil fields.

“We had to take a gamble and move to Alberta,” Davis says. “It was do or die. We moved to Fort McMurray, as well as having locations closer to Lac La Biche and now we’re in Edmonton. Long-term employees have stuck through me through thick and thin and they have the gumption to just do it.” Doing it is a tough, long slog. Hours are spent pulling shattered rigs upright and coordinating with law enforcement and firefighters to re-open the mountain or tundra thoroughfares as quickly and safely as possible. Davis teases viewers will see how stressed even longtime staffers get during the course of Season 3.

The road to Fort McMurray presented a particular challenge for everyone because of its remoteness–a closed highway means no groceries or fuel make it there not to mention the heavy equipment needed at the oil fields–but the conditions are harsher with winter temperatures plunging to minus-46, wreaking havoc on both man and machines.

Davis is still amazed over the popularity he and his crew have gotten over the last two seasons of Highway Thru Hell. The whole TV thing started innocently: driver Adam Gazzola was helping a guy whose truck broke down and they compared jobs. Gazzola told the dude, who revealed he worked in the television industry, that he drove a heavy rescue truck for a living and that driving the Coq in the winter was a gong show. The TV guy’s boss? Mark Miller, the man whose Great Pacific TV production company is behind such shows as Air Dogs, Untold Stories of the ER and Daily Planet. A series was born.

And despite Highway Thru Hell‘s success–the 2012 debut is still the No. 1 series premiere in Discovery’s history–fame isn’t their goal.

“That isn’t our business,” he says. “Our business is towing.”

Highway Thru Hell airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.

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