On top of rampant airshow cancellations (which you can track on our airshow calendar), the coronavirus has landed one more hit on airshow fans – the CF-18 Hornet used by the RCAF Demonstration Team will not feature a special paint scheme this year.
It is tradition for the designated display aircraft to wear a special paint scheme each year, tied in with the team’s theme for the airshow season. Previous themes have included celebrating the 60th anniversary of NORAD, the Battle of Britain, and 150 years of Canadian Confederation. The team says they will continue to honor their 2020 themes of 75 years since the end of WWII and the 50th anniversary of the Snowbirds. We also know that the 2020 pilot will be Captain Dan “Delouse” Deluce.
This year, however, the Canadian military has shifted to support only critical operations in the face of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. That means that the jet will not go into the paint booth before the team’s airshow season begins in June.
In related news, the RCAF has announced they will not be supporting any airshows or special events until at least April 30. The US Air Force has a similar policy in place that runs until May 15. The Snowbird and CF-18 seasons do not start until June, so as long as practice can continue (which is not a given), they could be ready to go as normal if the situation improves.
This is a rough situation for everyone, but it is important to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible. Follow along on our forums for the latest airshow-related coronavirus developments.