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Royal Canadian Air Force holds practice flypast over Ottawa on Wednesday ahead of Canada Day

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The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) held a flypast over downtown Ottawa and LeBreton Flats this afternoon, as part of preparations for Canada Day.

Aircraft  flew over Ottawa between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said on social media, "Look up Ottawa from 12:45 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and you may see a fly-past by the Snowbirds."

As part of events to mark the Centennial of the RCAF, the largest flypast in 20 years is set for July 1 at 1 p.m. The RCAF says the aircraft of the past, present and future will fly by three locations on Canada Day: starting just south of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, continuing west over Parliament Hill and then flying over LeBreton Flats. 

"The flypast will take the form of a ‘parade in the sky’ and will last approximately 20 minutes," the Department of National Defence said in a statement.  "It will involve aircraft representing current RCAF fleets and capabilities as well as historic and future RCAF fleets."

The aircraft will include the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, CF-18s, the CT-156 Harvard II, and large transport aircraft like the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-330 Husky. 

"We've got about a dozen aircraft of airplanes and helicopters that are staging out of the Gatineau Airport," said general manager Michael Rafter. "They started arriving yesterday and they'll be here for the week until Monday for Canada Day to do the flypast."

Rafter spent nearly 35 years in the RCAF and said it's an honour to be able to take part in the 100th anniversary celebrations.

"It's great to be able to support them and help them out with this really once-in-a-lifetime type activity," he said. "But I'm just excited to see them in general, like to see the military come out and doing this and putting the effort towards commemorating this is just really something that I love to see.

The members of the RCAF are excited too.

"On the actual day there will be more than 45 airplanes participating in the flypast representing every single fleet in the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as some past airplanes that the Royal Canadian Air Force flew in the past and aircraft that we will fly in the future," said Maj. Matthew Strong, the senior public affairs officer for 1 Canadian Air Division. "One hundred years is a pretty big deal for any air force in the world and we're really proud to do this."

--With files from CTV's Kimberley Fowler.

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