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Thunderbirds, Snowbirds perform at Canadian Air Show

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alice Diddle
  • U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron "Thunderbirds," performed alongside the Royal Canadian Air Forces air demonstration team the "Snowbirds," at the Abbotsford International Air Show Aug. 10 through 12.

This year, the Abbotsford International Air Show celebrated its 50th anniversary and the air show marked the first time the two demonstration teams performed at the same venue since 2010.

"It is a significant event to have two of North America's premier jet teams co-located at the same air show," said Capt. Thomas Edelson, "Snowbirds" Public Affairs Officer. "It shows support for Abbotsford's 50 years of having this great event. It is at air shows like Abbotsford that the teams get to interact and talk about the highlights and challenges in their respective seasons."

The Thunderbirds performed in the early afternoon for three days prior to the "Snowbirds," closing performance each day. The two teams also had the opportunity to participate in joint autograph sessions.

Both teams have similiar missions of representing their respective Air Forces. While the Thunderbirds showcase the capabilities of six F-16 Fighting Falcon jets in their demonstration, the Snowbirds showcase nine CT-114 Tutor aircraft in their demonstration.

Captain Brett Parker, the 2nd Line Astern, or Slot pilot, better known as "Snowbird 5," had the opportunity to see the Thunderbirds perform at the Abbotsford International Air Show when he was a child in 1989. He said he always enjoyed going to the air shows and was excited about the opportunity to perform alongside the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration team.

"It's a lot of fun. It's great meeting all these people from all over the United States," he said.

Parker said that there is a great level of mutual respect between the two teams and although the two demonstration teams fly different types of aircraft, there's still opportunity to learn from each other and share their aviation experiences.

"The sharing of the stories, experiences and lessons learned is what ultimately makes everyone a better and more aware pilot ... a lot of the formation tips,regardless of the individual controls are essentially the same," Parker said.

Major Caroline Jensen, the Thunderbirds right wing pilot or "Thunderbird 3," said she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the pilots from the Canadian air demonstration team. She agreed that although the team flies differently, the experience was a valuable one that was good for international relations.

"It's been amazing to get the opportunity to see how another Air Force operates and see their show. I had the chance to ask questions about how they train and how they travel, verses how we do things. It was a great learning experience for me," Jensen said.

After three days together, the two teams will move on to performing at other locations, but will have the opportunity to perform alongside each other again at two air shows in the U.S. later this year in Texas and Florida.

For more information on the Thunderbirds go to http://afthunderbirds.com/site/ and for more information on the Snowbirds visit www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/snowbirds .

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