Snowbirds and CF-18 Demonstration Team launch 2021 Season

On May 28, the 2021 season for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) air demonstration teams officially launched under Operation INSPIRATION.

Proud to Continue Op INSPIRATION

“The team has worked hard on our show, and I’m really satisfied with the result, not just for the pilots, but also the technicians and other support personnel. We are proud to continue Op INSPIRATION and hopefully put some smiles on the faces of Canadians during the next few months,” Major Jean-Francois Dupont, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Team Lead expressed.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be joined by the CF-18 Demonstration team this summer as they attend airshows and conduct flybys across Canada and the United States. The season kicked off after formal certification by the Commanders of 1 Canadian Air Division and 2 Canadian Air Division, which was followed by an acceptance show at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, according to a press release.

The Snowbirds along with the CF-86 Sabre over Montreal, source youtube video clip.

Strong at Home

The CF-18 Demonstration Team’s 2021 theme is “Strong at Home,” which represents the commitment to domestic operations that the RCAF and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are involved with throughout Canada.

Flying under Operation INSPIRATION could give people the chance to carry on the legacy of Captain Jenn Casey.

Flying under Operation INSPIRATION could give people the chance to carry on the legacy of Captain Jenn Casey. Captain Casey died while the Snowbirds were on Operation Inspiration during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Image courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces. .

Carrying on Capt. Casey’s Legacy

“I am so proud of the resilience and professionalism of our air demonstration teams and their successful return following the devastating loss of Captain Casey last year. Operation INSPIRATION’s goal is to inspire and build relationships with Canadians. I think it is a fitting tribute that these two teams carry on this mission,” stated Brigadier-General Denis O’Reilly, Commander 2 Canadian Air Division.

Casey, the Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer who lost her life during the first iteration of Operation INSPIRATION in May 2020, was “dedicated and instrumental to connecting the CAF with Canadians while she was with the air demonstration teams,” the release stated.

Snowbird aircraft fly over the crowd in formation during the 8 Wing / CFB Trenton Canadian Forces and Air Display Weekend, CFB Trenton. Image courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Connecting the Air Force to Canadians

Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division, touched on the importance of the air demonstration teams. He said that it was made clear through the success of Op INSPIRATION last year that they are the face of Canada’s Air Force, and they have the important role of connecting the Air Force to Canadians.

“This year we couldn’t think of a better way to continue that momentum than through formally recognizing Operation INSPIRATION as an enduring mission that will be carried forward by these two teams,” he added.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds (431 Air Demonstration Squadron) perform over 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia on April 11, 2017. Photo: Sgt Halina Folfas, 19 Wing Imaging Services. Image courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces.

COVID-19 Measures

All local, provincial, and federal health measures concerning COVID-19 will be followed throughout the 2021 season, noted the press release. This includes wearing masks, frequent hand washing, social distancing, and limiting movement in communities.

At each event, the teams will work to ensure COVID-19 measures are in place for both the team and the general public. In addition to following heath measures, team members have started receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The teams’ schedules can be found on their websites and social media pages, though there could be changes as the schedule adapts to provincial restrictions.

Snowbirds schedule and CF-18 Demonstration Team schedule.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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