Logan Reid at the cockpit of the Snowbirds’ CT-114 Tutor. (Photo provided by Logan Reid)

Logan Reid at the cockpit of the Snowbirds’ CT-114 Tutor. (Photo provided by Logan Reid)

Former Kittyhawk Air Cadet now soaring with the Snowbirds

Logan Reid hopes to find way back to Vancouver Island once his posting with aerobatics team wraps up

Darcy Nybo

Black Press Media Contributor

When Logan Reid was a child, his family would drive from their home in Central Saanich to Comox for the airshow. Much to Logan’s delight, they went every year.

“I was inspired by aviation by going to those air shows,” he said. “I loved the noise and the thunder and the grace of watching those planes fly through the air. Those were the first seeds planted for me to want to be a pilot.”

When Reid was 13, he joined the 676 Kittyhawk Air Cadets at the Victoria International Airport.

Logan Reid has dreamed of flying with the famed Canadian Snowbirds since his days with the 676 Kittyhawk Air Cadets. (Photo provided by Logan Reid)

“It was one of those things that seemed interesting and it turned out to be a great exposure to the aviation industry,” he recalls. “The beauty of the air cadets is that it provides access to so much experience that most people don’t get. My first experience in a glider was that it was graceful and eerily quiet.”

While the glider was peaceful, Reid wanted to fly jets and go as fast as possible.

“I moved from Central Saanich when I went to Royal Military College in 2008 in Kingston, Ont. You need to have a degree to be a pilot and I got mine in aeronautical engineering.”

Reid met his wife in Victoria in 2010 when he was posted to Comox 442 Squadron.

“We had a long-distance relationship until I was done college and we’ve been together ever since.”

The couple moved to Moose Jaw once Reid graduated. Then in 2018, after his first tour as a flight instructor, he tried out and was accepted into the famed Canadian Snowbirds. He flew with them in 2019 and, in the 2020/2021 season, advanced to become the lead solo.

Living away from family has been hard, but Moose Jaw provides a solid base for Reid, his wife and their three-year-old son.

Logan Reid with his son at an airshow. (Photo provided by Logan Reid)

“It’s very demanding to be married to me. In normal times, we (Snowbirds) travel a lot and have little time at home. My wife is very supportive and a great mom to our little guy and raises him day in and day out. He’s also getting excited about airplanes.”

Reid brings his family back to Vancouver Island whenever possible, although not recently given travel restrictions.

“Vancouver Island is the Squadron’s second home. We love going to Comox; it’s valuable training for us and we love the community, although we’ll be isolating this year and unfortunately unable to interact with the public.”

ALSO READ: Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The Snowbirds’ schedule starts in June this year and will take them across Canada. Reid isn’t sure what he’ll do after his time with the Snowbirds, which is normally a three- to five-year posting.

“Every time I visit the Island, I imagine myself finding a way to get back. There are so many options out there for anyone in the aviation industry. Anyone with a skillset in that industry is fortunate. The Canadian Armed Forces has a base in Comox, a unit in Pat Bay and a naval base in Esquimalt.”

Representing the Snowbirds has given Reid the chance to meet with Canadians from coast to coast.

“I love visiting the small towns” he said. “One year in Killam, Alta., the whole town shut down to watch us and we were able to meet the town’s people and have a barbecue with them.”

One of those looking forward to the shows every year is Reid’s mom, who he describes as a “hesitant” fan.

“She worries and it’s hard for her to watch me fly 1,000 km/h at another airplane and miss it by 30 feet. She’s still very supportive, though, and watches the shows every year.”

Those shows are the results of thousands of hours of experience and training.

“There are a lot of complex aerodynamics involved. We judge our rates of movement from the lead jet, and also the lead aircraft calls out commands as to how they are manipulating their aircraft,” he explained. “In Moose Jaw, we spend time in looser formations and then get tighter as we get more comfortable with our references. We get to a point where we can fly with six- to eight-foot spacing between wings. Sometimes we fly with four feet of overlap – that’s when the outboard wing of one aircraft will be only four feet from the inboard wing of the other aircraft. You do a lot of training and trust building.”

ALSO READ: Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

The result is a show like no other.

“We have a 30-minute airshow that has a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning, nine planes do aerobatics together. In the middle, we call it specialty manoeuvres when seven planes break off and the two solos do their head-on crosses. The rest of the formation conducts other specialty manoeuvres one right after the other. The end of the show is when the solos rejoin the seven and all nine planes fly in tight formation and do things like splits, loops and rolls.

“It’s not just watching airplanes dance in the sky. The visual aspect of the smoke trails, the music we do our routine to, and the flying truly are amazing to watch.”

The Snowbirds’ schedule is subject to change due to COVID-19. Please google Snowbirds 2021 schedule for current dates and places you can see them perform.


 

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