The Royal Canadian Air Force is shutting down performances by the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team for the remainder of the 2020 season.
This news is not all that shocking given the unprecedented list of airshow cancellations in Canada and around the world. The team was already going to be limited to a shortened 2020 performance season that was to start in the middle of June and end in early October. This would have been the second limited season in a row. Given that airshow cancellations are now extending into August with little sign of slowing down, there is simply not much point in continuing to plan for a season which would last only a few weeks at the very most.
The CF-18 team had already announced their pilot and themes for 2020, but the annual special paint scheme was an early victim of the pandemic. It is unclear whether the team members will be assigned the same roles next year or if new members will be chosen.
The Canadian Skyhawks parachute team already canceled their airshow season almost a month ago. There is no word on season plans for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, but they are still collecting themselves following the tragic fatal crash during their Operation Inspiration mission to perform flyovers across Canada.
Their Public Affairs Officer Capt. Jenn Casey was killed in the crash and the team’s #11 pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall was seriously injured. It’s worth noting that Capt. Casey was the PAO for the CF-18 team in 2018, immediately before joining the Snowbirds. The Snowbird aircraft are grounded until an investigation determines what lead to the incident. Recent updates point to a bird strike. It would sadly not be surprising to see them call their season off as well.
Here’s the full statement from the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team:
Unfortunately, due to uncertainty regarding COVID-19, the cancellation of most air shows on our 2020 schedule and to protect the health and safety of spectators and our team members, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 CF-18 Demo Team season.
We are disappointed that we won’t get to see any of our amazing and supportive fans this summer. We know that this is a difficult year for our airshow community and want to say thank you to the organizers and countless volunteers who worked so hard to prepare to host us at their shows this year. We truly appreciate your efforts and can’t wait to work with you again in the future.
While we won’t be able to bring you imagery and video of a new paint scheme and team, we will be looking at other ways of interacting with all of you throughout the next year. Stay tuned and stay safe!