Capt. Matthew Hart

At home on the Island

Capt. Matthew Hart, Snowbird 5, hails from Parksville

  • Apr. 16, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Erin Haluschak

Record Staff

Returning to Comox for nearly month-long training makes homecoming that much sweeter for Capt. Matthew Hart for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Hart, who flies Snowbird 5, is from Parksville, and having his family nearby to watch him practise in the sky over the Comox Valley is “a dream come true.

“To be honest, the last six months since I officially joined the team has gone by very quickly. It’s been by far the most challenging thing I’ve done, but by far the most rewarding thing I’ve done, and it’s been an absolute honour,” he said Monday. “I’m just so excited to be able to have the opportunity to do that for the next two years.”

Hart left Vancouver Island at age 17 to pursue a career in aviation. He said it became quite clear to him that the military/air force had plenty of opportunities for travel, training and career advancement.

“I realized that with all the different roles that the air force carries out in terms of domestic sovereignty patrols, search and rescue – as in Comox here – that it was a career I was interested in taking on.”

While he saw the Snowbirds perform at air shows, Hart never thought he could become a pilot. He noted once he entered the airforce, he realized it was something that was attainable, “with some hard work and a little bit of luck.”

With family in Duncan and Qualicum Beach, Hart said his mom was able to watch their Sunday practice, and while team didn’t complete the entire routine, he admitted it was nice to have her nearby.

“Being from the Island, for all the young ones out there that aspire to do something they’ve always dreamed of doing, all I can recommend … is work as hard as you can at everything you do,” he added. “Never set your goals low. Just shoot for the highest possible thing you want to do, and never doubt yourself and anything is attainable if you work extremely hard and have a little bit of luck – you can accomplish anything.”

• • •

Snowbird 1 team lead Maj. Patrick Gobeil said the upcoming season is the Snowbirds’ 45th anniversary, and as a result, the team is planning to wow audiences across North American with different formations.

“Every year we have the option of mixing up things. This year, we’re bringing back the double take, the double inverted – that hasn’t been done in a while,” he noted.

It’s really a show that we bring together with the dynamic of the team and we really have a lot of flexibility. I think the show this year will really be a crowd pleaser.”

A new addition this year is a camera pod attached to Gobeil’s plane which provides a unique perspective for both training purposes for the pilots and fans of the team.

“… we have two diesel tanks, and one is replaced with a flat, clear bubble at the end, and we have three cameras inside. It looks like they are outside, but they are actually inside the diesel tank, so it’s basically looking back to the formation from the Snowbird One jet.”

As a training tool, the team will use the cameras as an extra eye in the sky. Gobeil noted when something happens airborne, there a lot of things the team doesn’t see from the camera on the ground.

“When we fly, when people get close, we call shadows, and if we get inside certain spacing, we can call it safety, and now we have a direct perspective. You have a much better perspective to stop the issues and get the team even better.”

The team trains in the Comox Valley until April 30, and will fly their official acceptance show April 28 over the Comox waterfront.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Learn about the future sewer service in Courtenay and Comox

The public is invited to learn more about the Comox Valley sewer… Continue reading

VIDEO: Whale and sea lions at play near Mitlenatch Island

It was a spectacular sight Sunday evening near Mitlenatch Island for Thomas… Continue reading

Mainroad prepares to clear North Island roads this winter

Mainroad North Island Contracting LP’s road servicing contract began Sept. 1

Hamir brings agriculture to the Comox Valley Regional District forefront

Air quality also high on priority list for new Area B director

North Island College to host author of Wealthing Like Rabbits

What do zombies, Star Trek and rabbits have in common? Find out at NIC’s Comox Valley campus

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read