A Canadian Icon

Typically, when we hear the term "snowbirds," we think of Aunt Ethyl and Uncle George heading south for the winter months.

In September 1977, the Snowbirds were finally made a permanent unit, and their official designation became the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team (CFADT) and in 1978 they received squadron status and the Snowbirds became 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron. 431 “Iroquois” Squadron, The Hatiten Ronteriios or “Warriors of the Air,” had been a World War II Bomber squadron that was disbanded in 1945. It was reformed briefly in 1954 as an F-86 saber squadron which contributed four aircraft to the “Prairie Pacific” aerobatic teams.

The First U.S. Tour
In May, the Snowbirds ended their first US tour on a high note after a delightful few days performing at the Southern Wisconsin Airfest in Janesville, Wisconsin.

“The 2008 season took the team to 60 airshows in more than 40 different locations across North America, says Captain Jones, Snowbirds public affairs officer.

“The team has a demanding schedule, which involves more than 60,000 kilometres of transit in addition to the airshows and practices. Under the leadership of Master Corporal Jean-Marc Brien, crew chief, and Corporal Cam Simms, the deputy crew chief, the servicing technicians conduct inspections, routine maintenance as well as re-fuel the jets prior to flight.” As part of these inspections, the technicians follow a rigid checklist that includes everything from verifying fluid levels to inspecting instruments to replenishing oxygen to checking brake wear. Each servicing technician is assigned to a jet, which generates a tremendous sense of pride. Working on the ramp in all weather conditions, the servicing technicians conduct the first line maintenance in the rain, wind, snow and cold. The pilots and technicians work closely together to perform the inspiring and breathtaking show that Canadians have known for more than38 years.

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