By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
With their first flight less than a day away, the Snowbirds are in town.
The world renowned Canadian Forces Snowbirds, here for the Wings over North Georgia airshow, were honored at a reception at the Hawthorn Suites Hotel in Rome Thursday. As an extension of the Canadian military, the pilots serve two years touring across Canada and the United States, performing 60 shows a year in over 40 different locations. For many of these aviators, they’ve been dreaming about flying in airshows since childhood. However, for Captain Brett Parker, who is in his second and final year, being a Snowbird is about more than just soaring through the skies.
“We act as Canadian ambassadors, but we also strive to demonstrate the skills of professionalism and teamwork of the Canadian forces and act as a recruiting platform---But, not necessarily for the Canadian forces,” Parker said. “We try to motivate kids and young adults to want to do something with their lives and that could be anything. There’s a lot of opportunity for you to do something and stay in school and work had and all your dreams could be realized in a very short period of time. That’s the message I take away from it.”
Fellow teammates Captain Denis Bandet and Major Ryan Stitch share their colleague’s enthusiasm for flight. They particularly enjoy wowing their audience below, and they both claim their show this weekend will do just that.
“We do a lot of magicians tricks out there, we play a lot with angles. It’s all smoke and mirrors,” Bandet said. “There’s a lot of crosses that we do and optically where you stand from a crowd point-of-view, it will look very close. There are safety measures in place, but from the ground, we hear feedback from the audience where they gasp--and we know we made our mark.”
“The best crowd response is when someone says, ‘God! You scared the crap out of me!’ We get to say, ‘yes! It worked!’” Stitch chimed in after him.
The Snowbirds are the last act lined up for the air-show and will perform Saturday and Sunday at 4:05pm. Wings Over North Georgia opens their gates Friday at 2pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 9am. Parking is available at the State Mutual Rome Braves Stadium.