Day: July 4, 2018

The Snowbirds backstage
Front Lines

The Snowbirds backstage

It’s July 1. Nine pilots are seated around the table in a small boardroom at the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, 18 kilometres from Parliament Hill as the Snowbird flies. The room is a sea of Canadian red, for these are the iconic Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, and this is Canada Day 2018. Major Denis Bandet of Regina, team leader or The Boss, has just chaired a 20-minute briefing on their next flight—for 36,000 party-goers on Parliament Hill. Their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Mike French of Langley, B.C., has the floor. His message is brief and to the point: “About the most Canadian thing you can do is do a split over Parliament Hill on Canada Day. Enjoy it.” Indeed, is there anything more Canadian than the Snowbirds? Eleven primary...

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