Kingston, Ontario holds a very unique place in the hearts of the pilots of the RCAF. As the home of the Royal Military College, Canada’s sole remaining military university, most of the pilots have spent some time here as students. This has lead to a tradition of pilots making flybys over the university whenever they are transitioning the area. Also, being an hours drive from the transportation hub of the Canadian Forces, CFB Trenton, the Kingston Airport is often the scene of SAR and transport aircraft practicing approaches, dropping SAR Techs, and other training. When I first moved here, I was treated to two CF-18′s using my street to line up their approaches for touch and gos.The most recent excitement from the military was the presence of the 2012 CF-18 Demonstration Hornet. 3 Wing out of Bagotville had committed to providing a CF-18 to show the Officer Cadets of the Royal Military College the jet up close and personal. The jet chosen was 188781, also known as the 2012 Demo Hornet. This was the first trip off base since it was painted as the demo Hornet. I almost missed it, but an issue with an airflow sensor resulted in an extra few days tacked on to the visit. I was not able to see her fly, but look forward at seeing her for three or four airshows this season.
The scheme is an homage to “The True North Strong and Free”. A cursory look shows a Dark blue upper fuselage, covered with some snow flakes as well as two incredibly detailed vertical stabilizers. One with the Northern Lights, some Inuit hunters and an Inukshuk, while the other fin has a single Polar Bear.
Closer examination shows that the snowflakes, much like those found in nature, are each unique, with 13 separate ones, representing both the 10 Provinces and 3 Territories of Canada, as well as the 13 Wings of the RCAF. I was not able to get close enough to see each flake, but as you can tell from the image above, the aviation theme is well embedded, with the snowflake made up of military aircraft silhouettes. I can’t wait to get close enough to explore and document each one to discover all the nuances put in place by the designer, Mr Jim Belliveau.
The plane will start making regular appearances in May with training in Comox with the Snowbird, followed by 3 weeks in South America. You can find the CF-18 demo schedule on the team’s website.
- Jean-Guy Pitre