Snowbirds set to arrive in the Comox Valley today for annual training

The countdown to spring training for the Canadian Snowbirds is officially underway as the team officially arrives in Comox Valley today.

Capt. Gabriel Ferris, the team’s public affairs officer, said the team is excited about the upcoming airshow season as they have managed to secure schedules for all 10 provinces.

“From British Columbia to Newfoundland, we will be performing in each province at different times during the summer, reaching our Canadian audiences from coast to coast. We also have plans to reach those territories north, but only next year.”

The Air Demonstration Squadron will be training in the Valley until May 12 — what Ferris calls the team’s second home.

This year, Snowbird plans to fly two to three times a day, depending on operational requirements, he noted.

“The first wave is expected around 8.30am, the second at 12.30pm and 3.10pm, although the last wave is usually only for soloists (pilots). Residents can look forward to our signature formation , loops and rolls, splits and smoke in the air.”

Ferris explained that this year residents will be able to see more formations of seven or nine fleets, rather than just four or five like last year, as training has gone well so far this year. He added that spring training is still a training deployment and teams are not yet ready for performances, meaning some practices may only have a few planes in the sky at a time.

Two new pilots joined the team this year – Snowbird 2 with Captain Caitie Clapp and Snowbird 3 with Captain Steve Tim.

While there is no particular theme for this year, Ferris said the team will be celebrating the centenary of the Royal Canadian Air Force next year.

The Snowbirds will be training in the valley through May 12.

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