Skip to comments.Reducing Snowbirds Team not an Option, (Canadian) Air Force Says
Posted on 08/31/2006 6:59:29 AM PDT by NorthOf45
Reducing Snowbirds team not an option, air force says
Plan to replace planes with CF-18s also rejected
By David Pugliese
August 31, 2006
Canada's air force has rejected the option to substantially reduce the size of its Snowbirds team, as well as substitute CF-18 fighter jets for the aerobatic formation's aging Tutor aircraft.
But the military still hasn't settled on how it plans to keep the famous aerial demonstration unit operating well into the future.
A briefing note, dated April 25, 2006, to air force commander Lt.-Gen. Steve Lucas, as well as a report on the future options for the Snowbirds, outline the problems the service is facing with the 40-year-old Tutor aircraft the team now flies.
"Due to obsolescence issues, in the 2010 time frame, the Tutor will no longer be a viable aircraft for the Snowbirds," the documents, obtained by the Citizen through the Access to Information Act, conclude.
The air force is examining various options, including leasing or buying new aircraft for the Snowbirds and reducing the size from the current nine-plane formation to seven planes.
But it drew the line at cutting the formation back to four aircraft and substituting the high-speed CF-18 aircraft for the Tutors.
"A four aircraft team would have very little flexibility in display manoeuvres and therefore in entertainment value," the documents said.
"Four aircraft, regardless of type, would have a harmful effect to the Snowbirds' image."
Using CF-18s would increase the ability of the team to perform around the world but reduce their availability for smaller venues in Canada which have runways too short to accommodate the jets.
In addition, the CF-18s would be 20 times more expensive to operate than the Tutors.
The documents noted that the U.S. navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team uses six F-18s in their show but the higher speeds, fewer jets and larger turning radius for the aircraft mean the "show has much less time in front of the crowds than the Snowbirds."
Only Israel and Finland have show team sizes of four aircraft.
All other countries operate teams with sizes ranging from six to 10 planes.
Air force spokesman Capt. Jim Hutcheson said no decision has been made on the future structure of the Snowbirds.
"Ultimately there is recognition that we have to support the Snowbirds," he said.
"A range of options is still being looked at."
Capt. Hutcheson noted that "the current situation for the Tutor is stable."
A study determined the Snowbirds Tutor has sufficient life to continue to the 2020 time frame. To do that would require upgrades to the aircraft's avionics.
Capt. Hutcheson said there is no imminent decision to change the current situation with the Snowbirds.
The air force is in the midst of acquiring new helicopters, long-range strategic transport planes and a replacement for its aging Hercules transport fleet in a series of contracts worth billions of dollars.
The Snowbirds project "is not receiving the heat and light that many of the other projects are receiving," Capt. Hutcheson said.
The documents indicate that if the Snowbirds switched to more modern aircraft, the team could use a smaller formation of seven aircraft and still perform their various manoeuvres.
The reduction in team size would be offset by higher noise level and more modern design of new aircraft, according to the air force records.
It could also keep the status quo and continue to use the Tutors.
The advantages being that the team is well received in the U.S. and Canada, has an established legacy, and sufficient aircraft to fly until 2020.
The disadvantage of the status quo, according to the records, is that it requires about 100 personnel for the team, the aircraft are old, there are limited spare parts and an increased risk of unexpected aircraft problems.
Some officers see the Snowbirds as vital to the Canadian military's public image.
Others, however, question spending money on the team since it does not directly contribute combat capabilities to the air force.
Canadian Military Ping
Oh! Look! Pretty pictures of Canada's entire air farce outside its hanger! Eh?
Per Ardua ad Astra!
Scrap the Snowbirds. Canada can't afford them... not on its pathetic defense budget. Use the funds to replace the "Sea Things" that keep crashing.
Blue Angels used to fly A4 Skyhawks. There may be some of them left around. They're incredibly agile.
Those planes remind me of the failed Fairchild trainers that the Air Force was considering in the early-mid '80s.
Great ... you again.
Please send me a FReepmail to get on or off this Canada ping list.
I grew up near CFB Comox, every year they were there for us to watch, free shows, as they flew over our neighborhood!
Wow, that's nice.
I've seen them only at fairs and on Canada Day.
They are amazing to watch, eh?
<< Great ... you again. >>
Great Me, indeed.
Too bad all y'all can't afford to run the "c"F/18s or I coulda made a smart-arsed remark or two about the "c."
Blessings -- Brian
The Snow Turds are just nothing but a liberal boon doggle, far past being even good fertilizer.
Trash em and crash em. Use em for stationary targets on the ground, or convince some Jihadis to fly them as targets for Canada's sole intercept squadron.
I've never heard them referred to as a liberal boondoggle. Yes, there may be other needs to spend money on, but I wouldn't take it away from the Snowbirds. I believe they are important ambassadors for Canada and our military.
If you are to take more money for the military, I'm all for that ... just generate it from streamlining the forces (reduce the number of suits) and reduce the perks for "officers". The government can also get it from the Gun Registry, Kyoto, the costs of official bilingualism, and a list of other wasteful programs.
Whether the Snowbirds are a liberal initiative or not, I'm for keeping them. The Liberals sent our soldiers to Afghanistan. Does that mean we should pull them out?
They were "on order" when I fled Canada over 6 years ago.
Yes, I went to Brooklyn elementary school and they would always do manuevers near there, so we had free shows everyday. I also used to spend a lot of time at Kye bay, which is just down the shore from the beach at CFB Comox... free shows there too all summer.
You can check out those areas with google earth. You can see the airbase in high resolution.
I am, all for a flight display team based on a new combat capable aircraft. The Tudor jet was a replacement for the CF-86 Sabre based team, the Golden Hawks which was cut by the liberal POS government in 1964, along with other battle capable regiments such as the Black Watch a few years later.
Later the more liberal soft, touchy feely "Snowbirds" were rolled out for a kinder , gentler display.
I have had the privilege of viewing both teams, and the Tudor based Snow birds disply never could hold a candle to the sky ripping display of the Golden Hawks, in either formation flying or mock low level combat ( not done by the : "Snow Turds".)
Hey, I am all for a Canada Flight Display team as long as it is based on a combat capable airframe, and piloted by the best combat fliers Canada has, from squadrons who fight the airframe. The "Snowturds" are a liberal joke and as les Quebecoise are so fond of saying," Je me souviens!" I remember the difference between the Golden Hawks and the Snow Turds, a softer innoucuous smoke streaming display on a non combat air frame......a liberal joke and icon of social engineering that pulled the fangs out of the maw of the Canadian Military. Thats what the Snow Turds represent.
Now Harper needs to put some money towards a new combat aircraft, and let the best of the best fly IT in a display team, rather than continue the lovey lighty poofter Snow Turd image. Trash them, and their Frenchy farting non combat POS aircraft.LOL.
Bitter I am.
I will never forget what Trudeau did the the CAF, and the "Snow Turds" represent all that is wrong with the CAF thanks to the liberal a$$holes who brought them on, along with the "Golden Centennaires."
Take a look at a Canada's last REAL RCAF Flight display team: