The Canadian Forces Snowbirds have released the initial schedule for the cross-country flight to salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19. The unique mission dubbed, Operation INSPIRATION will see the team’s signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, flying over cities across the country starting in Nova Scotia and working west throughout the week.
Flyovers will occur at an elevation no lower than 500 feet above all obstacles.
Snowbirds Operation INSPIRATION Schedule
Sunday, May 3: Nova Scotia & New Brunswick
The Snowbirds left CFB Greenwood around 10:30 a.m and flew over Saint John at around 10:40 a.m. and Fredericton at around 11:00 a.m. There was a slight change in the Nova Scotia fly past as the Snowbirds had to miss the Annapolis Valley due to fuel consideration. The team visited Portapique-area around 2:30 p.m. and Halifax around 3:00 p.m.
Week of May 4
The schedule is weather dependent.
Newfoundland and Labrador -TBA
St. John’s: TBD
On Sunday evening, the Snowbirds had announced that they will be visiting St. John’s on Monday, May 4, 3:00 p.m. weather depending. But this tentative decision was put on hold due to inclement weather.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – PEI, New Brunswick, & Quebec
The Canadian Snowbirds took off from CFB Greenwood at around 09:30 a.m. and flew over Charlottetown to Miscouche, and Moncton in the morning. Following a short break at Moncton, the team visited Miramichi and Bathurst following the Acadian coastline and landed at Charlo. In the afternoon, the team flew past Rimouski and Saguenay, landing at Saguenay around 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 7, 2020 – Quebec & Ottawa
On Thursday, the Snowbirds flew over Saint-Siméon, La Malbaie, Baie-Saint-Paul, Levis and landing at Quebec City. During the second leg of the flypast, visited Trois-Rivières, Drummondville, flying over Granby, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and finally Montreal. The final flypast of the day saw the Snowbirds fly over Cornwall, Ottawa and Gatineau.
Friday, May 8, 2020 – Perth to Trenton, Ontario
On Friday, May 8th, after taking off from Gatineau at around 10:40 a.m., the Snowbirds flew over Perth, Smith Falls, Gananoque, Brockville, Kingston, Greater Napanee, Quinte West and landed at Trenton by around 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Due to inclement weather, the Snowbirds rescheduled the flight plan to Sunday, May 10th. After taking off on time (9:30 a.m) on May 9th, from CFB Trenton, the Canadian Snowbirds had to turn back after reaching east of Toronto due to snow and hail in and around Toronto.
Sunday, May 10, 2020 – Parts of Southern Ontario
The team had to miss parts of the planned flight path like Collingwood and Wasaga Beach from London to Barrie due to low cloud cover.
Week of May 11
Monday, May 11, 2020 – Parts of Northern Ontario
On Monday, the Snowbirds flew over the city of Sault Ste Marie at around 10:45 a.m. and Thunder Bay by 1:45 p.m prioritizing hospitals and residential neighbourhoods.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – Parts of Manitoba & Saskatchewan
The Canadian Snowbirds flew from Winnipeg at around 9:30 a.m. to Brandon via Portage la Prairie and then to Moose Jaw via Virden and Grenfell by around 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 14, 2020 – Saskatchewan & Parts of Alberta
The Snowbirds flew to Saskatoon via Regina from Moose Jaw in the morning and then to Cold Lake via North Battleford, Lloydminster and Cold Lake.
Friday, May 15, 2020 – Parts of Alberta
Saturday, May 16, 2020 – Parts of Alberta & British Columbia
On Saturday, the Snowbirds takeoff from Edmonton airport and flew southwest visiting Camrose, Lacombe, Red Deer, and Rocky Mountain House during the first leg of the day. In the afternoon, they flew further west into British Columbia flying over Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and other towns en route and landing at Kamloops by 1:30 p.m.
About Calgary & Southern Alberta Schedule
The Snowbirds said, “A quick rest at home in Moose Jaw & we are off again! We will fly to the West Coast via northern Alberta, returning through southern Alberta. It’s been amazing to put smiles on so many faces. For those we didn’t make it to, we hope to see you soon!”
A quick rest at home in Moose Jaw & we are off again! We will fly to the West Coast via northern Alberta, returning through southern Alberta. It’s been amazing to put smiles on so many faces. For those we didn’t make it to, we hope to see you soon! #opinspiration #cfsnowbirds pic.twitter.com/w7bQbtr18N
— CF Snowbirds (@CFSnowbirds) May 14, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Due to inclement weather, the team has postponed the flypast saying, “OKANAGAN: We know some areas are starting to clear up, however, transit through some of the mountain passes have very low cloud cover which is unsafe for flying 9 jets. We are going to preposition to Comox to start working our way west. Don’t worry, the longer-term forecast looks better and we plan to be back on our way home to Moose Jaw! Keep watching our page for updates and enjoy your Sunday!.”
A Snowbird plane crashed on May 17th en route to Comox. The crash was reported around 11:40 a.m on May 17th.
It is heartbreaking to report that Capt. Jenn Casey (Halifax) of the Snowbirds team is dead and another member is badly injured.
A team of military investigators arrived in British Columbia on May 18th to begin searching for answers into Sunday’s deadly Snowbird crash, which the aerobatic team’s commander described as a confluence of “worst-case scenarios, and it became our absolute worst nightmare.”
On May 18th, 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Mike French released a statement saying, “As of now, Operation INSPIRATION is postponed until further notice, and the entire Snowbird fleet is on an operational pause. Over the coming days the team will re-group, and come together to mourn the loss of our colleague. When appropriate to do so, we will return to 15 Wing Moose Jaw to plan our next steps.”
Monday, May 25, 2020
Facebook Post by The Canadian Snowbirds, “The Snowbirds will be returning to 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask. on Monday, May 25 at approximately 2:15 p.m (local time). The Squadron is still grieving deeply and asks for privacy upon their arrival. Citizens that wish to show their support for the team are encouraged to make creative displays or drawing large hearts with sidewalk chalk for the team to see from the sky.
It is important to note Capt Casey died inspiring people across the country to stay home, keep their distance, and stay safe while keeping their spirits high. At the request of Capt Casey’s family, those who wish to show their support for the team are asked to do so in a manner that respects physical distancing guidelines.”
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