The RCAF and Canada Day 2017

News Article / July 14, 2017

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From RCAF Public Affairs

Canada Day 150, July 1, 2017, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation, promised to be a signature event for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and that’s exactly how it played out, though a day late. Canada being Canada, rain, wind and a very low ceiling—cloud cover—meant that virtually all of the air show and flypasts scheduled to take place over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, were rescheduled for July 2.

One RCAF aircraft that did make an appearance on July 1 was the CF-18 Demonstration Hornet, which made a single-pass flyby over Parliament Hill, Ottawa, the Ottawa River and Gatineau, Québec.

The main colours of the Demo Hornet’s paint scheme are red and white, Canada’s traditional colours. The Canada 150 logo comprises diamonds arranged in the shape of the iconic maple leaf. The four diamonds at the base represent the four original provinces in 1867 – Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Additional diamonds extend out from the base to create nine more points, symbolizing, in total, today’s 13 Canadian provinces and territories. The left wing displays the timespan of confederation—1867 to 2017—while the right wing reads “Canada 150”.

This year’s Demo Hornet pilot is Captain Matthew Kutryk, a CF-18 pilot and a fighter electronic warfare instructor. Captain Kutryk has extensive experience working in NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), and has flown more than 1,300 hours in military jet aircraft over the course of his career. And the day was made more memorable still for the Kutryk family because during the Canada Day ceremony on Parliament Hill, Captain Kutryk’s brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Joshua Kutryk, also an RCAF fighter pilot, was named as one of Canada’s two new astronauts.

Inclement weather notwithstanding, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds also carried out several flypasts of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River and Gatineau on July 1. The CT-114 Tutor aircraft and their pilots are beloved by Canadians everywhere, and this year, one of those Tutors is sporting new livery in the team’s tried-and-true red, white and blue colour scheme. The Canada 150 Tutor features the official Canada 150 logo on its nose and wings, and name of the celebration, “Canada 150”, on its tail. The underparts of its fuselage and wings are white, painted with the red outlines of 150 maple leaves.

July 2, 2017, dawned with intermittent clouds in a blue sky and, to the delight of everyone who had turned up on Parliament Hill for Day Two of Canada Day, plus everyone in Ottawa, Gatineau and nearby communities, pilots and aircraft took to the sky with gusto.

The day’s aerial events began with a flypast featuring at least one of virtually every type of aircraft currently in the RCAF stable, from CT-155 Hawk Trainers through a CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft to a CH-147F Chinook medium- to heavy-lift helicopter.

A CC-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, always a crowd favourite with its bone-rattling roar, was scheduled to make an appearance but was called away on short notice for real-world duty elsewhere. The CC-177 Globemaster III and CC-144 Challenger were similarly redirected to other duties.

The flypast also included vintage aircraft. Three replica Nieuport 11s like those flown by Royal Flying Corps pilots during the First World War took part, with the aircraft and two pilots provided by the Vimy Flight Association, and the RCAF’s Captain Brent Handy, of 431 Squadron at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, piloting the third Nieuport. In April 2017, the RCAF provided airlift support for the replica aircraft and personnel on board a CC-177 Globemaster III to France. There, they participated in the April 9 commemoration flypasts of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial to mark the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Also featured were four Second World War aircraft of the types flown by the wartime RCAF: a Corsair, a North American P-51 Mustang, a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire. These vintage aircraft, and their pilots, were provided by Vintage Wings of Canada.

Visit our Image Gallery (link on the right of this page) for photographs of the July 1 and 2 aerial events.

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