Waterloo Warbirds fly over Waterloo Region, Guelph in frontline worker salute
KITCHENER -- The Waterloo Warbirds paid tribute to frontline workers just days after the Canadian Forces Snowbirds flew over the region to do the same.
The Warbirds took off from the Region of Waterloo International Airport at about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday as they began their flyovers of Waterloo Region and Guelph.
The blue T-33 “Mako Shark” aircraft, flown by pilot Ray Thwaites, proving to be a fan favourite among spectators.
“A post-war, Korean war, vintage if you will,” says Thwaites when describing the plane.
“It was cool. Like a blue shark face,” says spectator Ryerson Durrer.
After flying commercial planes for three decades, Thwaites says he’s happy with the change of pace.
“Back to the roots, if you will, of flying. There are no auto pilots. There's no automation to speak of. It's all you,” says Thwaites.
“It's the most exhilarating experience when you're up flying,” says pilot Richard Cooper, Waterloo Warbirds.
The Waterloo Warbirds are a local volunteer organization dedicated to keeping Canada’s Cold War aviation history alive.
However, during the global pandemic they're focusing on showing support for those on the frontlines.
“They're basically facing this horrible virus head on,” says Cooper.
“We’ve not been flying much in the last eight weeks, so it’s nice to get back and support our frontline workers,” adds pilot Peter Stewart, Waterloo Warbirds
An exhilarating sight for those watching from the ground below.
“The speeds we travel at are in excess of 200 mph,” says Thwaites.
A tweet from the organization shows the T-33 flyover passed over a number of long-term care and retirement homes in the region, as well as first responder branches, our three local hospitals and Grand River Hospital's Freeport campus.
"While the sentiment of our flyover includes all locations and townships, the limitation of our jet's flight time does not permit reaching everyone," the tweet explains.
The Waterloo Region flyover started over Waterloo before passing over Kitchener and then looping through Cambridge.
A number of Guelph retirement and long-term care homes got a flyover from the Harvard, as did paramedic and fire services and Guelph General Hospital.
In Guelph, the flyover went south-to-north.
"We invite you to watch from your yards and respect all Ontario Public Health directives for social distancing," the post reads.
"We ask that you do not travel to the airport or any public sites to watch the flyovers as the health and safety of our community is our top priority."
The flights—including takeoff time and flight paths—were dependent on weather, but went ahead as scheduled.
On Saturday the CF Snowbirds were delayed on their cross-country tour because of weather conditions in Waterloo Region.
Visibility issues delayed the planes a day, forcing them to pass over on Sunday, instead.