This is a year of milestones for the Snowbirds as 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron.
In honour of its 40th season, the Snowbirds are inviting famous Canadians to join them in some of their practice flights at 19 Wing Comox, B.C.
To date, three specials guests have taken to the skies to find out for themselves what being a Snowbird is all about: Jon Montgomery, skeleton athlete and gold medal winner of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games; Master Seaman Allan Kobayashi, navy diver with the HMCS Ottawa and honoree of the Canadian Navy’s centennial year; and Gord Kurbis, field reporter for A Channel on Vancouver Island.
The team’s annual spring training started on April 7 at 19 Wing Comox, B.C., giving the crew an opportunity to fly over mountains, water and diverse terrain before officially beginning this year’s show season on May 12 with a flypast in Brandon, Man. The first air show will follow a few days later in Neepwawa, Man., from May 15 to 16.
This year is also notable for the Snowbirds as a new leadership structure was introduced; new commanding officer (CO) Lieutenant-Colonel Maryse Carmichael will assume responsibilities in her new role on May 6. She is the first female CO of the Squadron and flew with the team in 2001 and 2002.
Other notable Canadians from the entertainment, sports and political spheres will be invited to fly with the Snowbirds but the names have yet to be released.