November: A time for remembrance - w(ar)t

November 23, 2020

During the month of November, I also remember and give thanks to everyone currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.  Today's blog pays tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force with a series of pictures involving the Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team.  

Over the years I have literally amassed hundreds of airshow images on just about every major plane used in Canada's aviation history.  In many ways, airshows offer a unique perspective on the topic of war art, display and design.  Most (but not all) of the pictures featured here were taken during the “birds are coming” airshow in 2012 at the Aéroport exécutif de Gatineau, which was organized by the Vintage Wings of Canada.   The atmosphere at the airport on this day was totally electric, and the weather was picture perfect.

The first series of images feature Captain Patrick "Paco" Gobeil taking off and flying in a beautifully tricked out McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet.

The second series of images features the Canadian snowbirds (Canadair CT-114 Tutors), also known as the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron. The snowbirds are simply an energy inducing force, and an awe-inspiring sight of Canadian nationalism with their aviation acrobatics and clad painted red and white wings.   Their equivalents would be the Navy-Blue Angels in the United States and Red Arrows in the United Kingdom.  

Lest we forget, however, the brave men and women who show us Canadian pride, ingenuity and gratitude in the skies are not without risk and loss.   Since 1972, nine members of the Canadian Snowbird's team have died while on duty, along with one passenger.  On May 17, 2020, Captain Jenn Casey of Halifax lost her life while flying over the skies of Kamloops, BC.    

I love everything about the snowbirds (including the name), and I hope to see their flyby moments on Canada Day for many more years to come.  I wish the crew, and everyone involved, well during this time of remembrance for their fallen comrades. 

 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Captain Patrick "Paco" Gobeil gives me a wave as he prepares to take off in his McDonnell Douglas CF-18. So very exciting! :)
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

A McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet taking off...and me and my camera were totally ready to flash freeze the action pounding moment!
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

A McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet thrusts off a runway
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Ah man, I'd love to fly that vehicle!
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

A McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet flexing its wings in the sun...
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

A Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules shows how it would refuel a McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet in flight.
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds gearing up to take flight
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Everybody is waving at everybody...excitement is about to hit the air.
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

High fives...and we're off...
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Canada Day. As some of the world's very best photographers from National Geographic say, "always aim to be in the zone of maximum possibility".
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds flyby
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics - an optical illusion.
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics - an optical illusion.
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Snowbirds aerial aerobatics - The main group thrusts forward while two wingmen split off to make a huge smoke heart in the sky!
 
Canadian Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet Demo Team

Ah man, I'd love to be an RCAF photographer!
 

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