While the United States has the Blue Angels, Canada has the Snowbirds. The Canadian pilots are currently on tour here in the U.S. and made a pit stop to fuel up here at Meridian Aviation, yesterday. They are now in their 49th season. “I was inspired by the air show when I was younger, and that’s what we’re trying to do, you know, inspire people. Not necessarily to get into aviation, but we’re just inspiring them to strive for perfection. We want them to find something that they love to do that doesn’t feel like work. If they get inspired by that by watching us fly, then we’re meeting our mission goal and also setting up a future of success for some young aviators,” said Maj. Denis Bandet.
The twenty-six-member team is made up of technicians, a Public Affairs Officer, and eleven pilots. Maj. Bandet said their air shows are a chance for the U.S. public to learn about the Canadian Forces, what they’re capable of, and how they work alongside the U.S. Military. “We work seamlessly. In my previous experience with F-18’s, we were always training with the U.S., our counterparts. Last year was our 60th anniversary for NORAD. So, that really shows how close the two nations work together in safeguarding our sovereignty.”
Only one Snowbird pilot is female, and she is Capt. Sarah Dallaire. “I’m a big believer that you can do whatever you want. Being a female, it’s like I have ten brothers. It’s quite nice, you’re the little sister. I really enjoy flying with the team, and, for me, being a pilot is something I always wanted to do. It didn’t matter that I was a female or not, I just thought I would go for it and give everything I had,” said Capt. Dallaire.
While she’s the only female Snowbird on this team, thanks to her parents, she’s one of two
female Snowbird pilots in history. “When I was 12 years old, they brought me to an air show in my hometown, Quebec City in Canada, and I saw the first Snowbird female pilot flying. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, she put a little flame into my heart, and I always followed that my whole life. Being a female, when you put your helmet on, you’re another pilot on the team. You have a job to do, and you’re treated like everybody else.” For a list of their upcoming shows here in the States, visit their schedule link at www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/snowbirds/schedule.page.