CF-114 Snowbirds

In Photography, travel-photography by Bob Wild

Aerial Performance – snowbirds

Who Said; “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – Peter Pan

Snowbirds aerobatic team – in formation

What is a snowbird? If you’re a Canadian, it can mean one of two things. 1) Canadians heading south to get away from the cold winters or 2) The magical aerial performance of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In this case, I ‘m referring to the later.
Their home base is 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. But every year the team heads to 19 Wing Comox to prepare for the up and coming air show season.
The team flies the CF-114 Tutors., each year they change the routine, which must be approved by the Canadian Forces, Transport Canada, and the FAA to ensure strict safety guidelines are in place before they head out to 19 Wing for their yearly practice.
Three types of shows are planned, an unrestricted high altitude, a modified high altitude where loops are not permitted due to cloud coverage, and a low altitude show where cloud conditions do not allow for the higher maneuvers. Portions of the show alway stay the same. It is, after all, the “Canadian Snowbirds” and they are known for certain aerobatic moves, such as the Canada burst, heart, downward bomb burst, solo head on crosses, and their signature 9-abreast exit, are always present.
Once maneuvers are understood and practiced with the team being content with the routine, the Snowbirds fly to 19 Wing Comox for more specialized training. After another month of training approvals are obtained, and an “acceptance show” will be performed at Moose Jaw to allow representatives from the approving agencies to witness a live performance.

I’m upside down, no you’re upside down. who’s upside down

Interesting fact about the Snowbirds.

  • They were the first aerobatic team in the world to use music in the show and often live commentary is performed by the pilots while flying the CF-114 Tutor during the show.
  • They fly at speeds of 100 knots (115 MPH) to 320 knots (368 MPH) with a separation of 6ft in formation. When the two aircraft perform the head to head, they are 10 meters apart.
  • In 1982, Canada Post released a stamp commemorating the snowbirds.

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