Name: Captain Brian Bews
Unit: 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 3 Wing Bagotville, Que.
Time in the CF: 12 years
Hometown: Eatonia, Sask.
“I always thought that flying was cool, but it was a flight in a Cessna 172 that sealed the deal for me,” says Capt Bews. “I knew that I was going to dedicate the rest of my life to flying.”
Capt Bews earned his private flying license in 1995 and was hooked on flying. He soon set his sights on bigger challenges. “I just wanted to fly the fastest thing out there and the military is the only place to go for that.”
He joined the CF in 1999. After attending the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program in Moose Jaw, Sask., he went to become a fighter pilot at 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron in Cold Lake, Alta., before moving to 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., in 2008.
During a practice flight for the Alberta International Airshow in Lethbridge, Alta., Capt Bews’ CF-18 fighter jet crashed and exploded into flames on July 23, 2010. He ejected moments before the airplane hit the ground and he suffered compression fractures in three vertebrae.
“It started to slide to one side and the nose started to drop… so I knew my only chance of survival was to pull the ejection handle,” he said. “My training kicked in. I knew I had to do it. It’s something that we train to do, but it’s rare to actually have to do it.”
Capt Bews is eager to get back into the cockpit. “I wish I could fly today,” he said. “The aircraft we fly are very safe. I’ve got an amazing ground crew and all of our technicians are very highly trained.”