RCAF announces pilot and theme for 2017 CF-18 Demonstration Team

News Article / January 18, 2017

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From Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Captain Matthew Kutryk as the pilot for the 2017 CF-18 Demonstration Team.

Captain Kutryk will wow audiences around North America during the 2017 air show season, flying his specially painted CF-188 Hornet commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of the Confederation and the RCAF is honoured to be able to contribute to the celebrations of this important milestone with the CF-18 Demonstration Team,” said Major-General Christian Drouin, the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region. “The RCAF’s history is an integral part of the history of Canada as a whole.

“We are proud of the tradition of excellence that the men and women of the RCAF have demonstrated in service to Canada, and we look forward to continuing this legacy in the years to come.”    

Captain Matthew Kutryk

Captain Matthew Kutryk was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and spent most of his early childhood in Whitehorse, Yukon. He later moved to a farm near Beauvallon, Alberta, graduating from Two Hills High School in 2002.

Inspired to fly by his first airshow experience at Cold Lake, Alberta, in the late 1980s, Captain Kutryk was eager to join the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program: first with 551 Whitehorse Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron (RCACS), and later with 341 Mundare RCACS. As an air cadet, Captain Kutryk earned his glider pilot’s licence in 2000 and his private pilot’s licence in 2001.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta and spent his summer months fighting forest fires with an Alberta Wildfire Helitack Crew based in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. 

Captain Kutryk joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2006 and, in 2008, began military flight training in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and later in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In 2010, he was selected to fly fast jets and moved to Sheppard Air Force Base at Witchita Falls, Texas, for training. He graduated in May 2012, realizing a life-long dream of receiving his RCAF pilot’s wings.

He returned to Canada as a student at 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake for operational training on the Hornet. He completed his training in 2013 and was then posted to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec. 

Captain Kutryk has actively trained throughout Canada and in the United States with the Hornet, and has served on NORAD missions across Canada, including the High Arctic. He is currently a section lead and fighter electronic warfare instructor with 425 Squadron.

In April, Captain Kutryk will take to the skies over Comox, British Columbia, where the CF-18 Demo Team will conduct its annual training before launching the 2017 air show season.

“Being selected as the pilot for the CF-18 Demonstration Team is an incredible honour, especially on such a significant year for Canada,” said Captain Kutryk. “I am excited to travel all across Canada and the United States to show the skill and professionalism of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the team of highly dedicated professionals that support the team and make our performances possible.”

Aerobatic team schedules

The show tour schedule for the RCAF’s two aerobatic teams, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the CF-18 Demo Team, are now online. Check out the schedules to find out where you can see the teams during the upcoming season. 

2017 Theme

The RCAF selects a theme each year for its air demonstration teams and 2017 will feature Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

Throughout the year, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces will support the Government of Canada in its Canada 150 celebration, participating in numerous events across the country. The upcoming air show season is a special opportunity for the RCAF to join Canadians across the nation as we celebrate our shared values, our achievements and our place in the world.

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