The 2018 CF-18 Demo Jet displays its paint scheme highlighting the 60th Anniversary of NORAD.

CF-18 demo plane not taking off in the Valley this spring

With the Canadian Forces Snowbirds getting ready to arrive in the Comox Valley in about two weeks for their annual spring training, there will be one aircraft noticeably missing from the sky.

This year, the CF-18 demo plane will not be taking to the skies over the Valley, confirmed air force officials Tuesday.

In a post on their Facebook page, the CF-18 team noted their schedule does not match this year with that of the Snowbirds and instead will be training at 4 Wing Cold Lake from May 15 to June 2.

“To accommodate an increased focus on regenerating important experience levels within the fighter community, the CF-18 demo team has a shortened season this year, with the first show not taking place until June 8,” explained Maj. Jennifer Jones, senior public affairs officer for the 1 Canadian Air Division.

As a result, their training period no longer lines up with the Snowbirds’ spring training, so the team chose to train at their home wing in Cold Lake which already supports fighter operations, as of mid-May, she added.

“This will allow them to meet their training objectives while ensuring that their maintenance team is available to assist wing operations as necessary.”

RELATED: Date announced for Snowbirds spring training on the Island

However, the military aerobatics team will be practicing from April 17 to May 7 at 19 Wing Comox.

In December, the team announced the 2019 Snowbirds schedule. The only B.C. stops are Fort. St. John (July 24), Quesnel (Aug. 3 to 4), Penticton (Aug.7) and Abbotsford (Aug. 9 to 11).

Capt. Brian ‘Humza’ Kilroy was announced as the pilot for the 2019 CF-18 demo team, with the theme of celebrating the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force, based on its motto Sic Itur Ad Astra (Latin for ‘such is the pathway to the stars’), as well as to highlight the CF’s operational role within North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

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