Canadian Forces Snowbirds
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are a Canadian Icon known worldwide. LearnToFly.ca Editors, Greg and Geoff McKay, spent the day with the Snowbirds so we can bring you this Behind-the-Scenes report and Exclusive Snowbirds Video. The Snowbirds proudly represent Canada, the Canadian Forces, and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Snowbird 5 Jet Tour
Take a tour of the Snowbird Tutor Jet with Captain Brett “Oreo” Parker of Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron. Captain Parker pilots Snowbird 5, Second Line Astern. Captain Parker begins by providing LearnToFly.ca with a detailed tour of the Snowbirds as he performs a CT-114 Tutor Jet Intro and Pre-Flight Walk-Around Inspection. Captain Parker explains and highlights the many features, characteristics and components of the Canadair Tutor Jet.
Snowbird Pilot Interview and Cockpit Lesson
The walk-around and pre-flight inspection and demonstration of the Snowbird Jet is followed up with a Cockpit introductory lesson providing a complete overview of the Tutor Jet Cockpit. The Primary Flight Instruments are all identified, and Captain Parker briefs us on the appropriate aircraft approach speeds and take-off and landing configurations.
Exclusive Video: SNOWBIRDS – Learn to Fly a Snowbird Tutor Jet – Buzz the CN Tower
Snowbirds Aerobatics Air Show Performance over Toronto Harbourfront, Canada
Exclusive HD Cockpit Video
Follow along with Captain Parker as he and the entire Snowbirds Team take-off from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to perform an aerobatics formation flying demonstration over Toronto and the Toronto Harbourfront. Buzz the CN Tower with the Snowbirds team, and experience what it’s like to fly in Tight Formation during an Aerobatics Air Show Performance!
Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron
The Snowbirds are a Canadian Military Formation Aerobatics Team originally known as the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team. Formed in 1971, the Snowbirds are now known as the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron operated from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Red, White and Blue
The Snowbirds are easily recognized by their distinctive Red, White and Blue paint scheme. The Blue “Snowbirds” signature line with accompanying blue stripe separates the primarily white top side of the Tutor Jet from the red bottom side of the aircraft. The red bottom of the Snowbird Jet also includes the large white silhouette of the Snowbird Jet Logo prominently emblazoned for everyone to see as they fly overhead.
Nine Snowbird Jet Formation
The Rudder of each jet includes the large identifying number for each of the eleven Snowbird Jets on the team. There are nine Tutor Jets for aerobatic performances and two spare Tutor Jets that fly with the team as they travel.
The Snowbirds Air Show performances include full-up aerobatics including formation flying during loops, rolls, inverted flight, and clovers. Some of their signature manoeuvres include the Canada Burst, the Downward Bomb Burst, and solo head-on crosses.
Snowbirds Photo Gallery
The Snowbirds Team, Pilots, Air Show Performances, and Snowbird Jets are all showcased in our Snowbirds Photo Gallery. Take a closer look at the Canadair CT-114 Tutor Jet and cockpit. Browse the Snowbirds Photo Gallery for exclusive, close-up pictures of the cockpit and aircraft.
Thumb Up if you Like the Snowbirds
The Snowbirds are the highlight of most air shows, and they are usually the Grand Finale for an Air Show. The Snowbirds are loved by everyone, and a highly anticipated finish for the show. Anticipation builds, and everyone gets excited as the Snowbirds are about to perform. Feel free to comment and share the Snowbirds Video, and “Thumb Up” (Like) the video, article and photos if you love the Snowbirds!
Canadair CT-114 Tutor
The Snowbird Tutor Jet is a two seat, jet-powered aircraft introduced in the early 1960’s. Built by Canadair, the Tutor Jet is commonly known as the CT-114 Tutor. (Canadair Model Number CL-41, or CL-41A) With a max gross take-off weight of 9,000 lbs, the Tutor Jet performs very well as a trainer. It has a service ceiling of 41,000 feet and a max speed of 412 knots. Typical cruise speed would be about 310 knots, and the Tutor Jet has a range of approximately 580 nautical miles.
Tutor Jet Cockpit
The Snowbird Tutor Jet Cockpit is awesome. The cockpit uses the standard “Steam Gauges” that were typical when the jet was designed and built over 50 years ago. Unlike the newer “Glass Cockpits”, the Tutor Jet relies on the traditional round gauges popular with aviators for many years.
Perfect T Flight Instruments
The primary flight gauges are arranged using the popular “Perfect T” formation that has been used in cockpits since the 1950’s.
The Attitude Indicator (AI) is located at the Top Centre. To the left of the Attitude Indicator, you will find the Air Speed Indicator, and the Altimeter is located to the right of the AI. Directly below the Attitude Indicator is the Heading Indicator (HI). These four primary instruments make a “Perfect T” formation.
The other two primary flight instruments, comprising the standard Six Pack of Flight Instruments, are located in the second row, to create the standard 6-pack formation of gauges. The Turn Coordinator (and Slip Indicator) is located directly to the left of the Heading Indicator, and the Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) is located to the right of the HI. The Snowbird Tutor Jet also includes a Machmeter to demonstrate how fast the jet is flying in relation to the Speed of Sound.
The Snowbird Tutor Jet is rated for plus 7.33g and minus 3g. These Acceleration Units, or g’s represent the range of G-Forces the aircraft can safely handle. 1g represents the standard gravitational force we experience in our atmosphere while at rest.
A positive g-force of plus 7g would feel like our body weight was seven times what we normally experience. The Tutor Jet has an Accelerometer (or G-Meter) mounted at the front of the cockpit above the instrument panel dash.
The Accelerometer helps the pilot to monitor the g-Forces being exerted on the jet and pilot during flight. This is especially important during aerobatic performances. Unlike CF-18 Hornet Pilots, the Snowbird Pilots do not wear a g-suit to help them handle the g-forces experienced during their air show performances.
The Snowbird Jet Pilot uses the Throttle and Stick for controlling the aircraft throughout the flight. The abbreviation ‘HOTAS’ stands for “Hands On Throttle And Stick”, and by design the Throttle and Stick contain most of the buttons, switches and controls used throughout the flight. HOTAS design enables the Pilot to keep his “Hands On The Throttle And Stick” for most of his/her time in the cockpit. This helps the pilot to be continuously ready and engaged with the flight controls without interruption.
General Electric J85 Jet Engine
The Canadair CT-114 Tutor is powered by a single General Electric (GE) J85 CAN 40 Jet Engine. The GE J85 is a Two-Stage turbine with single-spool eight-stage, axial flow compressor.
The General Electric J85 Jet Engine produces approximately 3,000 lbs of thrust, and if equipped with afterburners, the engine can produce as much as 5,000 lbs of thrust.
Located on the top of the throttle is the “Air Start” button allowing the pilot to “re-light” the engine by activating igniters. Raw fuel is then thrown onto the igniters to hopefully re-start the engine in the case of an emergency. Hopefully, the pilot will not need to use the Air Start Switch, but it’s an important back-up to have.
Nine Lines of Smoke
At the rear of the engine, the Snowbird Jet has two nozzles mounted directly in the path of the hot exhaust. These nozzles are used to spray pressurized diesel fuel into the hot exhaust instantly creating a highly visible path of white smoke. When flying in formation, the 9 Snowbird Jets create nine lines of smoke that can be seen for miles across the blue sky.
CF-18 Hornet vs. the Snowbirds
The CF-18 Hornet Jet may have more thrust, than all nine Snowbirds combined, but the Snowbirds have nine lines of smoke! The highly skilled pilots of the Canadian Forces are proud to fly either the CF-18 Hornet Jet, or the Snowbird Tutor Jet. But, only the Snowbirds have smoke!
The Snowbird Tutor Jet is an awesome training jet. The aircraft has incredible Rudder Authority with the large empennage and especially large rudder. During aerobatic performances, the pilots rely on the excellent rudder authority to maintain precision flight in tight formation with the rest of the Snowbirds.
The Snowbird Tutor Jet also has two very large Speed Brakes that extend from the sides of the rear fuselage. These speed brakes are deployed frequently during the Snowbirds Air Show performances to slow down the jets, and they are very effective. The Speed Brakes are engaged using the switch on the top of the throttle.
Watch the Speed Brakes Deploy in the Snowbirds Video as the team prepares to return to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) for a landing after they had performed a “Fly-By” formation flight along the length of Runway 23 at YYZ.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are a highly respected and Iconic symbol representing all of Canada. Thanks to the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron for their hard work, dedication and contribution to Canada. And, a special thanks to Captain Brett Parker, Snowbird 5, Second Line Astern. Thank-you Captain Parker for showing us what it’s like to fly a Snowbird Tutor Jet!
Thumb Up for the Snowbirds and Captain Brett Parker!