The Snowbirds are flying in a new formation as the squadron’s command and leadership structure undergoes significant changes.
Just in time for the upcoming 2010 season, the organization of the Snowbirds is “flying” in a new formation as the squadron’s command and leadership structure undergoes significant changes.
In the past, a major was both the squadron commander and team lead (Snowbird 1). As team lead, the major toured North America during the show season and trained during the winter months. That role is now being split into two.
Newly-promoted Lieutenant-Colonel Maryse Carmichael is assuming the responsibilities of CO of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron (The Snowbirds). She flew Snowbird 3 in 2001 and Snowbird 2 in 2002. Major Chris Hope, who flew Snowbird 5 in 2005, is taking over the role of team lead and Snowbird 1.
In 2000, 2 CF Flying Training School (2 CFFTS) at 15 Wing Moose Jaw stopped flying the CC-114 Tutor for training purposes, adopting instead the CT-156 Harvard II and CT-155 Hawk aircraft. With the change, 15 Wing’s 431 AD Sqn grew to more than 80 members, taking over functions previously carried out by the school.
“The squadron [increased], but no changes were made to the leadership,” said LCol Carmichael. “Over the last few years, we saw that it needed to be changed because no other commanding officer in the Air Force flies twice a day, every day, during training in the winter, and is on the road six months out of the year with the team, flying across North America. It was not sustainable to have such a large group of the squadron at home and then have the CO being away, with all of the responsibilities of commanding a squadron of that size.”
15 Wing Moose Jaw now falls under 2 Canadian Air Division, which stood up in 2009 as an Air Force doctrine, training and education formation.