The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are returning to the Comox Valley for their annual spring practice. File Photo

Snowbirds, F-18 set to visit Comox Valley for annual ‘spring training’

Canadian Forces teams will be at 19 Wing Comox for three weeks in April

Spring in the Comox Valley promises signs of blossoms, a herring run, and of course, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and F-18 demo teams.

The teams regularly take to the sky over the Comox Valley for their annual practice every April.

This year, the teams will arrive in the Valley on April 4 and leave April 25. Practices will vary in terms of location and duration based on training requirements and weather.

There are normally two practice sessions a day, with times to be confirmed closer to arrival.

This year, as Canada and the U.S. mark an important milestone in their relationship and friendship with the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the 2018 theme for both teams is ‘A Tradition of Military Aviation Excellence.’

Comox-born pilot Stefan Porteous was named the RCAF’s 2018 CF-18 demo pilot late last year, and said he’s “extremely excited” to be returning home and to promote the theme.

“The bilateral agreement with the U.S. is important as a fighter pilot, to protect the security and sovereignty of airspace in North America. There truly are airplanes ready to go at any time – every day Canadian men and women are ready to go to protect our sovereignty. We take a lot of pride in that, and it’ll be a great summer celebrating with our American partners,” he said in an interview with The Record last year.

With the mountainous terrain, as well as open water nearby, the Valley is an ideal location for the teams to fine-tune their skills before finalizing their performance routines.

The performance schedule for the Snowbirds is set to begin on May 5 in Havelock, North Carolina, and will end on Oct. 14 in Fort Worth, Texas, with a variety of Canadian shows in between.