ARCHIVED - 2015 CF-18 Hornet Demo Team helps save dozens of aircraft from severe weather damage

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News Article / June 1, 2015

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s 2015 CF-18 Hornet Demonstration team saved the day this past weekend at the Rhode Island Airshow in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

The local forecast on Sunday May 31, 2015, had been calling for severe thunderstorms that evening but, at the last minute, the forecast changed, bringing with it heavy hail, which can cause severe damage to high performance aircraft like the CF-18 Hornet.

“The weather deteriorated rapidly, and although initial reports had thunderstorms with no risk of hail, it suddenly changed to include heavy hail,” said Major Eric Martinat, Demo Team coordinator and safety pilot.

The team, composed of the east maintenance team, pilot Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu and coordinator/safety pilot Major Eric Martinat made the quick decision to tow the Demo Jet inside a hangar to safety.

The team then helped the Canadian Forces Snowbirds secure their 11 aircraft, before moving on to help a few of the other demonstration teams with the same task.

“Me and my team, Master Corporal Patrice Girard, Master Corporal Denis Roy, Corporal Jonathan Seguin and Captain Beaulieu helped tow the Snowbirds' aircraft, 2 F-16s, 1 T-33 and our demo jet inside and out of the hailstorm,” said Sergeant René Lanteigne, the East Maintenance team crew chief.

When it seemed as though all aircraft were safely inside, the team took one last look outside and noticed the United States Navy Blue Angels moving their seven F/A-18 Hornets inside and out of the storm.

Drawing on their extensive skill and experience working with the Hornet, the Demo Team once again jumped into action to lend a hand.

They quickly began helping the Blue Angel crew members, and eventually moved all aircraft indoors with little time to spare. A great example of cooperation between military partners.

This kind of quick thinking, dedication and practical problem solving skills are synonymous with the way members of the RCAF work every day.

The Rhode Island airshow wraps up the majority of the U.S. shows for the team this season. Next on the schedule is a flyby and short demonstration to kick off the “Fallen 4 Marathon” on June 6, 2015 in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.

The marathon and its related activities are in commemoration of the four Mayerthorpe, Alberta, Royal Canadian Mounted Police members who were killed in the line of duty in March of 2005.


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