The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will fly over cities across Canada to salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19. The tour named Operation INSPIRATION will see the team’s signature nine-jet formation with trailing white smoke starting in Nova Scotia this weekend and then moving west throughout the week. Locations, routes, and times for each flyover will be posted on their social media accounts each day.
“The iconic Snowbirds have a special place in the hearts of many Canadians,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence. “We hope that their presence over Canadian cities and towns to acknowledge the hard work being done by Canadians in our grocery stores, our pharmacies, our hospitals, and long-term care facilities lift up Canadians during these difficult times.”
To keep within the directives of COVID-19 to contain the spread, the team will be practicing recommended handwashing and wear personal protective equipment while travelling. They will also minimize any interactions with people outside of the team. Canadians are encouraged to observe the flyovers from the safety of their home and avoid travelling to see the flyovers.
“Every year, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds travel the country putting smiles on the faces of Canadians,” LGen Al Meinzinger, Commander 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.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds paused operations on March 20. To get ready for Operation INSPIRATION, the team will spend two days at 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan to undergo flying refresher and proficiency training missions, which is standard practice for the Royal Canadian Air Force after an extended pause from flying operations.
“We’ve been asked to do what we do best… inspire Canadians. 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,” said LCol Mike French, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds.