Snowbirds cite need for additional training, cancel airshow appearances
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds perform a fly past the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill as part of Canada Day festivities in Ottawa on Sunday, July 1, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:59PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada's famed Snowbirds have put their airshow season on hold so that some of its pilots can get more practice.
Snowbird team lead Maj. Patrick Gobeil said Tuesday that the iconic flying team's normal training schedule had been cut short this year because of bad weather.
The nine-plane team went ahead with several airshows, including a joint flyby over Parliament Hill with a French squadron earlier this month.
But Gobeil said it was determined that more practice was necessary after some of the planes were seen deviating from their positions in mid-flight.
"As a result, more training is required before the Snowbirds resume their 2017 schedule," Gobeil said in a statement, adding that the team was pulling out of six airshows between now and mid-June.
"The safety of our team and spectators is extremely important. We're going to assess where we're at and work hard to get back to the airshow circuit, so we can continue putting on safe and fantastic shows,"
Two of the shows affected are in Ontario -- Windsor and Fort Erie -- while the other four are in the U.S.
The Snowbirds, in their iconic white, red and blue Tutor jets, have been entertaining airshow visitors in Canada and across the U.S. since 1971.