Who are the Snowbirds and how did their fly overs become so popular in Canada?
Who are the Snowbirds? Well, they're a lot of things: a Canadian Forces squadron, savvy pilots, accomplished aerobats, and — lately — the country's biggest celebrities.
The Snowbirds consist of 11 red-and-white jets, operated by a team of more than 70 Canadian Forces personnel, including pilots, aviation technicians, and commanding officers.
Every winter, the pilots and aircraft technicians spend months at their home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, training to perform over 50 demanding aerial formations and maneuvres.
Although the Snowbirds have been operating for decades, they've recently soared to fame due to their Operation Inspiration tour, which will see the squadron fly across the country in an aerial salute to Canada's frontline workers.
So far, the Snowbirds have put smiles on the faces of Canadians in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, and they will continue their journey west in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the Snowbirds were unable to fly over Newfoundland due to bad conditions, but the squadron says that it hopes to return in the summer when the weather improves.
But the Snowbirds have been around long before this pandemic started; the group formed during World War II, when they flew on bombing and mine-laying operations under the name No.431 (Bomber) Squadron.
The squadron disbanded after the war, but reformed briefly for a few months in 1954 to fill a shortage in the RCAF.
It wasn't until the 1970s, however, that the Snowbirds became part of the Canadian Forces permanently, reforming as an air demonstration squadron in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where their home base remains today.
Their motto — The Hatiten Ronteriios, or "Warriors of the Air" — is a reminder of the pilots' bravery and courage in flight.
But the Snowbirds are more than just aerobats; in difficult times like these, they're also a unifying force — and a symbol of hope for Canadians everywhere.
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