Here is the 2019 airshow schedule for the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds! Will you see them in 2019? Let us know! Post in the AirshowStuff Forums or on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!
Schedules often change during the year – for the latest updates please be sure to check our forums!
2019 Canadian Forces Snowbirds Airshow Appearance Schedule
May 18-19: Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Airshow – Barksdale AFB, LA
May 22: TBA
May 25-26: Westmoreland County Airshow – Latrobe, PA
May 29: Carolina Air and Auto Center Open House – Winston Salem, NC
June 1-2: Saint Hubert Air Show – Longueuil, QC
June 8-9: Spectacle Aerien de Val-d’Or – Val D’Or, QC
June 12: Armed Forces Day – North Bay, ON
June 15-16: Ocean City Air Show – Ocean City, MD
June 19: Miramichi Air Show – Miramichi, NB
June 22-23: Bagotville Air Show – Bagotville, QC
June 26: TBA
June 29-30: Barrie Air Show – Barrie, ON
July 4: TBA
July 6-7: Saskatchewan Air Show – Moose Jaw, SK
July 20-21: TBA
July 24: Fort St. John International Air Show – Fort St. John, BC
July 27-28: Wings Over Springbank, Springbank, AB
July 31: Thunder in the Peace Air Show – Peace River, AB
August 3-4: Quensel Skyfest – Quensel, BC
August 7: Pentiction Peach Festival – Pentiction, BC
August 9-11: Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford, BC
August 14: TBA
August 17-18: Edmonton Airshow – Edmonton, AB
August 24-25: Spectacle Aerien de Riviere-du-Loup – Riviere-du-Loup, QC
August 28: Community Charity Airshow – Brantford, ON
August 31-September 2: Canadian International Airshow – Toronto, ON
September 7-8: Aero Gatineau-Ottawa – Gatineau, QC
September 11: Niagara-on-the-Lake – Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
September 13-15: Airshow London – London, ON
September 18: TBA
September 21-22: Peterborough Air Show – Peterborough, ON
September 28-29: Wings Over Wine Country – Santa Rosa, CA
October 5-6: The Great Pacific Airshow – Huntington Beach, CA
October 12-13: TBA
October 19-20: TBA
I have always been a fan of the Canadian Snowbirds. When I was just getting into airshows, their spectacular bursts were unlike anything I had seen before. As I became more familiar with the industry, their large formation rolls where they pull over the top while pointing right at the crowd stuck out as even more unique. And when I eventually earned my pilot’s certificate and spent some time at formation clinics, I found myself astonished by the difficulty of their many different nine-plane formations.
To this day, the Snowbirds are my absolute favorite airshow performance to watch, and one of the very few that I make sure to see at least once a year. One could say I feel a special connection to the team; they feature prominently in my most powerful airshow memories, and just hearing some of the songs they’ve flown to will bring goosebumps to my arms in an instant.
All of this is to say: when Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer Lt. Michèle Tremblay contacted AirshowStuff last month to talk about a media ride, it was more than just a cool opportunity. The catch was that I would have to get from Michigan to the Oregon International Airshow in Hillsboro, Oregon. Thankfully, the logistics were straight forward and less than two weeks later, I was descending past Mt. Hood on my way into Portland.
I actually beat the team to Hillsboro, and watched the #10 and #11 jets – the advance party – arrive in the Thursday afternoon sun. We got my quick medical check out of the way before the main group of nine jets arrived. The team’s support hauler, a specially-outfitted semi-trailer truck, was already in place. The truck brings all sorts of equipment for the team, including tools, spare parts, bicycles, a Gator four wheeler, and space for luggage that doesn’t fit into the relatively small CT-114 Tutor aircraft.
I knew that the team had performed on the East Coast (Virginia Beach, VA) the weekend before, and we heard how the Canadian Army driver had driven the truck all the way from there to the team’s home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for a short three hour stop to reload before finishing the cross country journey. I was thankful for my airline ticket just thinking about it.
The rest of the team arrived with a nine ship flyby, and after a quick debriefing I was told to report the next morning for ejection seat training(!) and other preparations.
The big day arrived, and the four media riders went straight into learning the complex steps required to strap in, and the even more complex steps required to eject or evacuate on the ground. We grabbed flight suits, and were fitted for helmets, oxygen masks, life preservers, and parachutes by the helpful (and patient) technicians.
Once we were all set, we went straight to the briefing room to meet the rest of the team and go over the details of the flight. As a dedicated media opportunity, the team was forgoing their typical Friday practice and instead planned a transit flight just for us. We would take off and head north, then turn west and follow the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, OR. After a flyby there, we would turn south and fly along the coast before turning inland and returning to Hillsboro. Upon arriving back at the airfield the team would perform a site survey to familiarize themselves with the showline and then land.
Unfortunately, the FAA rep at the show incorrectly but adamantly stated that aerobatics could not be performed with passengers. The team grumbled but accepted it. The rest of the briefing covered the weather (clear skies, unlimited visibility), air traffic control, divert airports, and other such details that well-prepared pilots pay attention to. I would be flying with Snowbird #4, Maj. Stephen “Pup” Melanson in the First Line Astern position, right behind the “Boss”.
Outside, we were introduced to the aircraft technicians who would be helping us strap in. Cameras were readied, and soon it was time to mount up. All of our prepared gear was waiting for us, and my awesome (and again, patient) tech Cpl. Brandon Harvey made sure to catch all of the steps I missed. In my defense, when you’re covered in straps and handles that turn on oxygen or deploy a parachute, you tend to double check what you’re pulling!
Pup joined me in the small side-by-side cockpit, and talked me through the startup procedure once all of the pilots had checked in. The jets lined up on the runway in three groups of three, with #6 and #7 on our wings as the middle group. Pup explained the sequence as we rolled down the runway together and all nine aircraft worked to form up on our northbound leg.
The scenery was breathtaking. In the clear afternoon air, we could easily see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and even Mt. Rainier in the distance while haze filled the valleys below us. The team went through a couple of formation changes as Pup explained the spacing and alignments. Although we didn’t really move around ourselves, the #4 position gave me a great view of the other aircraft moving around on both sides of us. The changes were far more sudden and crisp than other formation flights I’ve been on, but at the same time controlled and smooth. I wouldn’t expect any different from some of the world’s best!
With smoke on, we gave a big sweeping flyover to the citizens of Longview, WA as we turned west. Each aircraft dropped into trail as we descended toward the river, which for the Snowbirds means a follow-the-leader line of nine jets, each with the freedom to maneuver as needed. Pup, knowing I fly, handed me the controls and let me slalom behind the pack ahead of us as we wound down the river. The controls were responsive but not touchy. I felt right at home and I can understand why the aging jet is still perfect for formation displays. The coolest part of the entire flight was when I pulled us into a turn and blasted right through the smoke trail of #3, bobbling slightly as we crossed his wake.
Sadly, my part only lasted a few minutes before we were called to rejoin – a maneuver that included a few violent whips and the hardest G of the flight, probably around 4 or 5. That was the tame version, Pup explained to me; the rejoins during the scripted show are even quicker and tighter.
Back in formation, we did two flybys over Astoria, including a low pass down the runway there before proceeding south along the coast. This was another dose of beautiful scenery, with big bluffs and rocky islands as far down the shoreline as the eye could see. Boss put us into a big 360 degree turn right over Tillamook Rock so that the pilots on each side of the formation could take in the view while also staring at his jet.
We continued a little further south, with a couple more formation changes thrown in. The ocean fell behind us as we climbed up over the hills of the Tillamook State Forest – a bad place to eject, Pup pointed out to me. The team dropped back into trail, and descended into Hillsboro as a line of white dots against the evergreens. The site survey was a quick four passes over the airport, then Pup whipped us back into formation again for a final Big Diamond flyby. The team separated into three groups of three again, and set down smoothly on the runway. Our techs marshaled us into position, perfectly spaced and lined up. My Snowbirds flight had come to an end.
I’m forever grateful to the team for the opportunity to join them and I give special thanks again to Lt. Michèle Tremblay, Maj. Stephen Melanson, and Cpl. Brandon Harvey for their help. If you missed it above, make sure you check out the video of my Snowbird flight!
– Ryan Sundheimer
The Snowbirds have wrapped up their 2018 season, but I highly encourage you to make plans for one of their shows once the 2019 schedule is released in early December. You will be able to find that right here on the AirshowStuff blog, or in our forums.
Here is the 2018 airshow schedule for the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds! Will you see them in 2018? Let us know! Post in the AirshowStuff Forums or on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!
Schedules often change during the year – for the latest updates please be sure to check our forums!
2018 Appearance Schedule – Canadian Forces Snowbirds
May 5-6: MCAS Cherry Point – MCAS Cherry Point, NC
May 12-13: Peterson AFB – Colorado Springs, CO
May 15-17: Blue Angels Visit – NAS Pensacola, FL
May 19-20: Anderson Regional Airshow – Anderson, SC
May 23: Ocean City, MD
May 26-27: Jones Beach Airshow – Wantagh, NY
May 30: Airshow Cape Breton – Port Hawkesbury, NS
June 2-3: Borden Armed Forces Day – CFB Borden, ON
June 9-10: Thunder Of Niagara Airshow – Niagara Falls, NY
June 13: Parry Sound, ON
June 16-17: Great Lakes International Airshow – St. Thomas, ON
June 19: Saint-Isidore, QC
June 23-24: Heroes Festival Canada – Wasaga Beach, ON
June 27: Sur L’ air de Chambly – Chambly, QC
June 28: Montreal, QC
July 1: Parliament Hill Canada Day Flyover – Ottawa, ON (Flyover Only)
July 7-8: Manitoba Airshow – Southport, MB
July 11: Flin Flon Rotary Airshow – Flin Flon, MB
July 14-15: Country Thunder Saskatchewan – Regina, SK
July 15: 15 Wing Fellowship Highway to Heroes – Moose Jaw, SK
July 18: Snowbirds Over Camrose – Camrose, AB
July 21-22: Cold Lake Airshow – CFB Cold Lake, AB
July 25: Rocky Mountain House Airshow – Rocky Mountain House, AB
July 28-29: Hometown Heroes Airshow – Whitecourt, AB
August 1: Vancouver, BC
August 4-5: Vanderhoof International Airshow – Vanderhoof, BC
August 8: Nanaimo, BC
August 10-12: Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford, BC
August 22: Thunder Over The Boardwalk – Atlantic City, NJ
August 25-26: Atlantic Canada International Airshow – Summerside, PEI
August 29: Brantford Charity Airshow – Brantford, ON
September 1-3: Canadian International Airshow – Toronto, ON
September 4: Captain VandenBos School Tribute – Whitby, ON (Non-Aerobatic Performance)
September 7-9: Airshow London – London, ON
September 15: Aero Gatineau-Ottawa – Gatineau, QC
September 16: Battle of Britain Commemoration – Ottawa, ON (Non-Aerobatic Performance)
September 19: Snowbirds Over Fort Erie – Fort Erie, ON
September 22-23: NAS Oceana – Virginia Beach, VA
September 29-30: Oregon International Airshow – Hillsboro, OR
October 6-7: Santa Maria, CA
October 13-14: Fort Worth Alliance Airshow – Fort Worth, TX
October 19: Home Closer – CFB Moose Jaw, SK
Here is the 2017 airshow schedule for the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds! Will you see them in 2017? Let us know! Post on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!
2017 Appearance Schedule – Canadian Forces Snowbirds
Updated 2/19/17 – Added several shows, removed Rocky Mountain House, BC
June 3-4: Duluth, MN, USA (Canceled on 5/15/17)
June 10-11: Dundurn, SK
June 14: Gaylord, MI, USA
June 16-17: North Bay, ON
June 21: Walkerton, ON
June 24-25: Bagotville, QC
June 28: Barrie, ON
July 1: Parliament Hill, Ottawa, ON**
July 12: Shoal Lake, MB
July 15-16: Lethbridge, AB
July 19: Grand Forks, BC
July 22-23: Fort St. John, BC
July 26: TBA
July 29-30: Springbank, AB
August 5-6: Quesnel, BC
August 9: Penticton, BC
August 12-13: Abbotsford, BC
August 16: Whiterock, BC
August 19-20: Edmonton, AB
August 26-27: Greenwood, NS
August 30: Brantford, ON
September 2-4: Toronto, ON
September 5: Whitby, ON
September 9-10: Kingston, ON
September 16: Bromont, QC
September 17: Ottawa, ON – Battle of Britain Commemoration **
September 20: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
September 23-24: London, ON
September 24: Toronto, ON – Invictus Games **
September 30-Oct 1: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
October 7-8: San Francisco, CA, USA
October 14-15: Boise, ID, USA
The headlining act of this year’s EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI was undoubtedly the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. It was the team’s first appearance there in 33 years, and only the second jet team performance with the full aerobatic box. The team put on several spectacular shows, and even called their Saturday performance the best of the season so far. Check back as we continue to edit photos for some amazing shots!
Unfortunately we are not able to post video of their routine due to the music, but we did catch their 9-ship formation arrival flybys earlier in the week. Check out their arrival below, and then watch their full high show routine from earlier this year.
The 2014 Rockford AirFest in Rockford, IL was one of the rare airshows to feature two jet teams at one show! Both the US Air Force Thunderbirds and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds headlined the event. Check out their performances below!
Most airshows compete fiercely just to secure one jet team appearance, and it’s a very rare event for one show to land two teams! This weekends airshow in Evansville, IN is one such rare occasion. The teams in attendance, the US Navy Blue Angels and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, decided to take full advantage of the special opportunity; they jumped into their jets and took to the skies for a majestic 15 plane joint photo shoot.
The Blue Angels, flying six F-18 Hornets, and the Snowbirds, flying nine CT-114 Tutors, flew in a loose formation around the skies of Evansville. The Blue Angels teased the flight yesterday morning on their Facebook page, and we got our first indications of what was happening from some fans on Twitter. Today, the Blues released these official photos from the flight: