We get a lot of amazing aircraft that touch down at YVR, but when the Snowbirds showed up recently, there was a buzz. Officially known as Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds were in town to dazzle crowds at the always popular Abbotsford Air Show.
The story of the Snowbirds begins way back in the 1940s when as part of the Commonwealth contribution to the Second World War, the 431 (Iroquois) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force was created. They later disbanded, but were reformed in the 50s on a temporray basis using new aircraft with duties that included aerial combat training and displaying the capabilities of jet operations to the public at air shows.The late 60s saw another rejuvenation, and the team eventually gained popularity, and a new name, being dubbed the Snowbirds through a naming competition at a CFB Moose Jaw base elementary school. The team was formed into its own squadron by reactivating 431 Squadron (renamed 431 Air Demonstration Squadron) on 1 April 1978. And they've been wowing crowds ever since!
The aircraft itself is a Canadair CT-114 Tutor. This aircraft has a long and storied history as well, as it was the Royal Canadian Air Force, and later the Canadian Forces, standard jet trainer, between the early 1960s and 2000. Designed and built by Canadair, it was ordered in September 1961.
The design of the Tutor incorporates a turbojet-powered, low-wing style with a tricycle undercarriage and a T-type tail assembly. The flying controls are manual with spring tabs.
Modifications for the Snowbirds include: a smoke generating system, a unique paint scheme for added crowd appeal, and a highly tuned engine to enhance engine response in low level flying.
Crew: twoLength: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 4 in (11.07 m)
Height: 9 ft 4.5 in (2.86 m)
Wing area: 220 sq ft (20.44 sq m)
Empty weight: 4,840 lb (2,195 kg)
Loaded weight: 7,348 lb (3,333 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 11,000 lb (5,000 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Orenda J85-CAN-40 turbojet, 2,650 lbf (11.8 kN)
Maximum speed: 486 mph (782 km/h)
Range: 944 miles (1,520 km)
Service ceiling: 44,500 ft (13,560 m)
Rate of climb: 4,220 ft/min (21.4 m/s)
Thanks to our airside personnel for capturing these amazing photos!