Air shows are popular all over the world. Airplanes and flying machines always capture the imagination and seeing the airborne acrobatics only possible from a team of skilled pilots will always inspire awe.
The Snowbirds are the premier example of this aerial expertise in Canada. Officially known as the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, they are a performance team made up of pilots from the Royal Canadian Air Force as an exhibition of the skill, teamwork and technique to be found in the RCAF.
The Snowbirds aren’t a new fad either. The first squadron tagged ‘431’ was formed back in 1942, but its status as a demonstration of combat jet capabilities was solidified in the 1950s. One of their most iconic moments was performing as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations in 1967. The Snowbirds in their current form were formalised in 1978 and have since been a defining force in demonstrations, exhibitions and air shows on a global scale.
The Snowbirds wrote the book on air showmanship. They were pioneers in combining their shows with sound engineering, and are credited as the first group to attach music to their shows. Their tight formations are a trademark, and they currently serve as the only jet team in North America to keep close formations of up to nine jets in their performances.
This year the Snowbirds are performing in the Niagara Region. For one day only, 20 September, the team will be at Niagara District Airport off Niagara Stone Road. General admission is available at the gate but it’s on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so consider booking online to be safe – or even grabbing a VIP ticket which will get you a prime viewing spot, food and drinks, and a meeting with the Snowbirds team. The gate will open at 2 pm with warm-up acts before the birds themselves come out at 4 pm.
The Snowbirds are one of the best aerial shows in the world, so anyone with even the slightest interest in aerial acrobatics owes it to themselves to see a tightly-oiled team perform high-class stunts in person.