AIRSHOW: Snowbirds carry the flag

The Canadian icon, composed of members of the Canadian Forces, are a fan favourite at the Abbotsford International Airshow

The Snowbirds Demonstration Team flies in precise formations

The Snowbirds Demonstration Team flies in precise formations

The Snowbirds Demonstration Team (431 Squadron) is a Canadian icon, composed of serving members of the Canadian Forces, and always one of the crowd favourites at the Abbotsford International Airshow.

The Snowbird pilots and technicians work as a team to bring thrilling performances to the North American public.

The nine jets fly precise formations that make it appear to spectators that their wings are virtually tip to tip.

Since 1971 they have flown the CT-114 Tutor jet – an aircraft designed and built in Canada, and used by the Canadian Forces as its basic pilot training aircraft until 2000. With its smoke tanks attached for shows, it is capable of speeds of 750 km/h. Their engines are highly tuned to enhance response during low-level flying. The planes are painted red and white, in the colours of the Maple Leaf flag.

They fly a busy schedule, in Saskatoon last weekend, in Abbotsford for three days, and then on to appearances in Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI and Ontario before the month is out.

Serving as Canadian ambassadors, the Snowbirds strive to demonstrate the high level of professionalism, teamwork, excellence, discipline and dedication inherent in the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Forces.

The team performs at 4:30 p.m. each day of the air show, running Aug. 10 to 12 at Abbotsford International Airport.