|Analog aviation magic|
This photo originally shared on Instagram
If the name of the plane draws a blank, the team that flies it shouldn't: Canada's national aerobatics flight demo team has flown these jets since the unit - officially the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron - was given the Snowbirds name in 1971. The Royal Canadian Air Force flew them as trainers until 2000, and 21 years later time hasn't done these planes any favors.
I've often written about how other military flight demonstration teams fly frontline fighters - the USAF Thunderbirds fly F-16s and the US Navy Blue Angels recently transitioned to the F/A-18 Super Hornet - but Canadian pilots are stuck with the aviation equivalent of analog antiques.
And what they squeeze out of these planes is nothing short of breathtaking. No afterburners, glass cockpits, HUDs, or digital flight controls here: just good old fashioned stick-and-rudder flying, backed by some of the best ground crew on Planet Earth.
I believe this is the Downward Bomb Burst maneuver. Whatever they call it, I hold my breath every time I watch them perform it. Because we could all use the occasional excuse to be wowed. And Planet Earth needs a few more wows these days.
Maybe someday soon they'll get new planes. Until then, though, this will never get old.
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The day the Snowbirds came to town, May 2020
Taking in the head-on pass, May 2020
Crashed dreams, May 2020
When Snowbirds fly, September 2019
Airshow! September 2017
In perfect diamond formation, September 2017
Snowbirds return to the skies, June 2007
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