We’re diving in: SkyHawks launch 2019 demonstration season
The SkyHawks are taking their dynamic parachute performances across the country to connect the CAF with Canadian communities – some of which rarely have an opportunity to meet with Canadian soldiers, sailors, and aviators.
After a successful first show at the Royal Military College Sunset Ceremony on May 16, the SkyHawks will be flying their signature Canadian flag parachutes at roughly 25 different festivals, airshows, and events from coast to coast between May and September.
“We can’t wait to take our show on the road to demonstrate some of the core values of the CAF,” said Captain Fred Morin, Team Captain of the SkyHawks. “Not only will audiences be able to see the professionalism, dedication, and teamwork of the CAF through our performances, but they’ll also be able to meet face to face and learn about the unique experiences of our team members – and maybe consider a career in the CAF.”
The SkyHawks are based within the Parachute Training Company at the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre at CFB Trenton, the Centre of Excellence for all parachutist related CAF courses. The team is made up of ‘cadre’ members who are posted to CFB Trenton and typically serve multiple years on the team, as well as single season ‘augmentees’ who come from units across Canada.
Whereas the other two CAF demo teams (the Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet) specifically showcase pilot and aircraft technician trades, the SkyHawks demonstrate the breadth of careers available within the CAF; members of any trade are invited to apply to the team. The 2019 SkyHawks team has members from the Army, Air Force, and Navy from CAF bases stretching from Halifax to Esquimalt.
To get their show routine ready, the team conducts two weeks of ground training followed by an intensive five weeks of jump training where the team will jump as many as eight times per day. The learning curve can be steep in order to prepare relatively inexperienced skydivers for the pressures of performing challenging parachute formations in front of large crowds with confined landing areas.
In addition to performances, the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team also conducts tandem jumps to share the thrill of skydiving and showcase the skill of CAF parachutists with stakeholders and media. The SkyHawks will look to build on a busy and successful 2018 campaign in which it gave over 100 people the opportunity to tandem skydive with the team and conducted over 80 media engagements.