The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds will headline the airshow at EAA AirVenture in July. The nine-jet formation team last appeared at the big show in 2016 and quickly became fan favorites, said EAA spokesman Rick Larsen. It’s the RCAF’s 100th anniversary in 2024 so it will be a memorable way to mark the centennial. “Along with their elegant precision aerobatics that define their aerial performances, we discovered in 2016 that the team members were enthusiastic and fully engaged in the aviation culture at Oshkosh, and truly enjoyed being with the tens of thousands of fellow aviators on the grounds.”

The team, officially designated as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, is based in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and typically does 60 shows a year. They fly CT-114 Tutor aircraft that were formerly used for pilot training by the RCAF but are now flown only by the team. The announcement came after the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) meeting, which sets airshow performance schedules for the year. The Snowbirds will do a public practice on July 26 and full performances to close out AirVenture on July 26 and July 27.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. When the Snowbirds were last at Airventure, we in Vintage Aircraft Operations discovered that many of the pilots were big fans of the show. Two in particular (names withheld for obvious reasons) wanted to have the “whole Oshkosh experience”, which included flying the Fisk Arrival, driving around in a chopped-top VW beetle, and camping under the wing of their aircraft. The first two were easy to arrange, but camping is a problem when your boss insists that your aircraft remain on a hard surface.

    Applying the principle of “it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission”, they “temporarily re-positioned” their Tudor to the narrow taxiway in front of the Vintage Flightline Ops building. We provided them with a couple of tents, sleeping bags, and other roughing-it necessities, pitched a tent in the grass under each wing, and invited them to join us for dinner in our communal Vintage volunteer camp. For the nit-pickers out there, their Tudor was a perfectly legitimate Vintage aircraft.

    The next morning they struck camp and taxied back to the rest of the team, mission accomplished. To my knowledge, there were no repercussions of their naughty behaviour. Even though the team has completely changed since then, we are very glad they are returning to Airventure, and welcome them to come see all the other Vintage aircraft.

    • Nice story. Note that the aircraft they fly are Canadair Tutors, not Tudors, which are a vintage piston-powered airliner produced by Avro (U.K.) in the immediate post-WW2 period.

  2. In 62 years of flying, The Snowbirds are my favorite (or is it “favourite” in Canada/speak?) airshow act. It speaks to Canada’s total comportment–while other jet demo teams (Blue Angels, Thunderbirds) feature “noise, thunder, and narrator hype”, the Snowbirds feature quiet competence–incredibly tight spacing and precision, and a typical Canadian understatement–right down to the announcer–instead of loud hype and yelling into the microphone, the Snowbirds simply state “Ladies and Gentlemen, for your aeronautical enjoyment, the CANADIAN Snowbirds!”

    Where the U.S. teams have a C-130 full of spares and maintenance people–the Snowbirds mechanics ride from show to show in the Tutor jets (I asked “where do you carry the spare parts and tools?”–the answer was “the #3 airplane carries the spare landing gear parts–another carries a spare starter/generator, and the engine parts and tools are spread out with the rest.”)

    Where other jet teams practice year around, the Snowbirds take a less formal approach–“What say we get together in the Spring in Moose Jaw?” That isn’t to say there isn’t a team leader, but in socializing with them after a performance, I’ve found they hold each other to the highest standards, regardless of rank (enlisted men banter with officers in a respectful but very collegial atmosphere). Yes, they are cognizant of their public image–but in typical Canadian style, will offer to “lift a Molson” with other performers at the Performers Banquet after hours. “BEAUTY, EH?”

    As a Minnesotan, I’ve even been known to affect a Canadian accent when flying to other countries–I’m THAT PROUD OF THE SNOWBIRDS!