A Snowbird rolls
St. Thomas, ON, June 2009 [Click to enlarge]
They almost didn't make it to the air show. The Snowbirds team had been grounded all week after a routine inspection had discovered a serious fault in the ejection system. Left unchecked, it could have had catastrophic results in the event of an in-flight emergency. Given that eight Canadians have died in accidents since the team was formed, Armed Forces leadership kept them on the ground until the issue was resolved. The team obtained clearance to fly the evening before, and flew out to the show to everyone's relief - and because we're Canadian, appreciation.
As I've done every time I've seen them fly, I took a bunch of pictures of them in formation. They're lovely, I suppose, and I couldn't return home without these now-standard views of our beloved national icons. But it's the moments before they take flight that always cause chills down to the base of my spine and, I'll admit, a tear or two.
As these aircraft, all older than I am, slowly make their way across the tarmac and past the surrounding farmer's fields, I feel an intense mixture of fear for these brave souls, awe at their unbelievable level of skill and pride in a pretty neat country. There's something about the slow taxi, the roiled air trailing out behind and washing across the otherwise bucolic landscape, that reinforces why these machines that can leave earth, and the folks who fly them, are truly special.
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