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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CAF Snowbirds Receive ICAS Platinum Pinnacle

News Article / January 4, 2016

By Lieutenant Patricia Brunelle

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds demonstration team has received the 2015 ICAS Platinum Pinnacle Award for excellence in the air show business in the “military performer” category. The award was presented to 431 Air Demonstration Squadron during the 2015 International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) luncheon in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 8, 2015.

The ICAS Pinnacle Awards recognize the ideas and professional execution that are essential for the continuous sustainability and improvement of the air show industry. The awards fall into seven categories that reflect professionalism, innovation, and overall excellence in air show operations and management.

“It was very exciting having the hard work of the pilots and maintainers acknowledged by ICAS,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Brad Wintrup, commanding officer of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron – better known as the Snowbirds, who fly the CT-114 Tutor. “This project successfully showcased the skill, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force to audiences across North America.”

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds air demonstration team break into the “Canada Burst” during their spring training at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, in April 2015.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds air demonstration team breaking into the “Canada Burst” during their spring training at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, in April 2015. Photo: DND - TankCam
The Snowbirds received the award as a result of their excellent work with the TankCam. The TankCam is a modified smoke tank mounted on the belly of the team lead’s aircraft. The tank holds three high-performance cameras able to capture stunning video and imagery of the entire formation in flight.

“The reaction to this project was more than we expected,” said Snowbird 1, Major Patrick Gobeil, during the 2014 and 2015 air show seasons. “Spectators were able to experience flight with the Snowbirds in a way that had never been seen before.”

The effects of the TankCam went beyond capturing rarely seen imagery of the formation; air show spectators and fans of the Snowbirds enjoyed seeing imagery of their hometowns, as seen from the formation, posted to social media. The Snowbirds training program also benefited from the TankCam because it was an important debriefing tool that allowed for a safer and more proficient show team.