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What it takes to fly with the Snowbirds

Cpt. Logan Reid of the Canadian Snowbirds landed in Terrace on Tuesday
Snowbirds pilot Cpt. Logan Reid will take flight above the Northwest Regional Airport on Wednesday at 5 p.m. sharp. (Photo by Michael Bramadat-Willcock)

Captain Logan Reid of the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds landed in Terrace on Tuesday and he’s excited the aerobatics team will be the feature attraction in this afternoon’s first Northwest Regional Airshow in two decades.

The Snowbirds are opening the show at the Northwest Regional Airport that starts this afternoon at 5 p.m. sharp.

Reid’s passion for aviation began as a boy in Victoria where he joined the air cadets. From there he went to military college, trained as a pilot and was selected to be an instructor pilot.

“So much of what we do requires in-depth experience in the cockpit all the time so we train all winter long and it takes us a good seven months to put the show together and train everyone up,” Reid said.

“We start with very basic maneuvers until we get to the advanced maneuvers that your readers are going to get to see.”

He’s been flying full-time with the Snowbirds team for four years. He said one of the big challenges as a pilot with the Snowbirds is flying close together with so many other airplanes that there’s “very little room for air” between them.

“Your intention is always 100 per cent focused on the formation and maintaining what you call your box, which is a two-foot, by two-foot, by two-foot square volume of area that you’re allowed to stay in,” Reid said.

“As soon as you leave that area you have to say something or let people know because that’s how close we are together.”

Pilots learn to recognize what they call line of sight, seeing movement in the cockpit until they’re at the point where they’re looking at 30-foot misses between wing tips, which is very close especially at more than 1000 kilometres an hour speeds.

Reid is a part of the nine-plane formation and will also do solo crosses.

“We break apart and do lots of fantastic splits and we have two airplanes that fly head-on right at each other,” Reid said.

“We try to make these crosses appear in the sky and my job is to make sure that those crosses happen right in front of the audience’s eyes so they can see it.”

He said they’ll be doing all sorts of aerobatics and came prepared with shows for all sorts of weather.

“We like to do loops and rolls and all that kind of stuff to music so you’re going to see nine aircraft fly very close together doing maneuvers right over top of your heads with some great tunes in the background.”

In addition to the Snowbirds, the Canadian Armed Forces Skyhawks parachute team and the CF-18 demo team and two private aerobatic teams will also be performing.

Reid said it’s important to showcase the capabilities of armed forces so the public knows where their tax dollars are going.

“We represent the fine men and women of the Canadian forces from coast to coast, to coast and overseas on operation right now. We want to demonstrate that skill and professionalism that they’re doing world-wide right now,” Reid said.

He said showcasing Canadian defence capabilities is especially important in the north amid heightened tensions with Russia.

“Our NORAD defence fighters are always making sure they’re defending our airspace and defending our skies. They’re doing a really good job and I’m sure that the Russians are keeping tabs on that as well.”

This summer is Reid’s last with the Snowbirds as he’s on track to start training to fly the CF-18 Hornets.

Onlookers should try to arrive early at the airport so as to get situated and catch the whole act.


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