The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces on April 29 unveiled plans to for a unique mission called Operation INSPIRATION, which will see Canadian Forces Snowbirds cross the country to recognize Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19.
“Every year, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds travel the country putting smiles on the faces of Canadians,” said Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “While Canadians may not be able to gather at air shows for now, we’re honoured to bring the Snowbirds team to Canadians and to pay special tribute to them.”
The tour was scheduled to start in Nova Scotia on the first weekend of May (weather delay) before moving its way West. The demonstration team will release anticipated locations, routes, and times on its social media platforms each day.
The 431 Squadron’s Snowbirds paused their operations on March 20 because of COVID-19, but were headed back to their home base of 15 Wing Moose Jaw for two days of refresher and proficiency training before starting Operation Inspiration.
The team’s signature nine-jet formation features the icon, modified CT-114 Tutor aircraft, originally procured in the mid-1960s to train student pilots. Flyovers will occur at an elevation no lower than 500 feet above all obstacles.
“We’ve been asked to do what we do best… inspire Canadians,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mike French, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds. “Through Operation INSPIRATION, we not only want to salute the front-line health-care workers, first responders, and essential workers, but also all Canadians doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. We want Canadians to know we’re in this with you.”