The Canadian Forces Snowbirds


F18 Demo Team

The Canadian Force's CF-18 Demonstration Team is returning for the 2017 airshow season and we promise to deliver spectacular performances throughout the summer!

The CF-18 Demonstration Team personifies the excellence required to keep the Canadian Air Force among the best aviation organizations on the planet. The expertise and dedication required by the team, from the pilot to the maintenance crews to the coordinators, reflects the professionalism of all of Canada's airmen and airwomen.

Kent Pietsch

Kent Pietsch fell in love with flying when he was four years-old. Five decades later, his passion has not waned.

Since 1973, Kent has performed his incredible aerobatic routines for millions of people at more than 400 shows that have taken him to quality venues throughout the United States.

Kent grew up in Minot, North Dakota, where every day after school, he’d find a way to get to the airport, and do whatever it took to get into an airplane.

While most aerobatic performers have one basic program, Kent executes three storied acts that leave spectators mesmerized. These include a dead-stick (turning the engine off) routine from 6,000 feet and a rooftop landing on a moving RV! However, Kent is best known for a comedy act that features a detached aileron (wing flap) and a mesmerizing wingtip-scraping pass down the runway that you must see to believe. When Kent is at the controls of his plane, it is impossible not to watch him perform.

Kent loves to fly, but the audience is always his number-one priority. “If you can’t entertain, you have no business being out there,” he said. “The gratification is in knowing that people are enjoying themselves.” Kent’s humble nature and willingness to interact with fans make him a crowd favorite wherever he performs.

He flies an 800-pound Interstate Cadet with a 37-foot wingspan. The plane’s horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine can generate 90 horsepower and a G-force ranging from -3 to +5.

Brent Handy

Brent is an unrestricted, surface-rated aerobatic pilot. His airshow experience began in 2012 when he flew in the opposing solo position for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Currently flying the Pitts Special at airshows across Canada and the United States, Brent also maintains a full time career on active duty with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a training and standards pilot, responsible for the Snowbirds. Brent has served as a military flying instructor and also as a CF-18 Hornet fighter pilot.

When a child dreams and wants something so deeply in their soul, anything is possible. Every detail of their life becomes aligned with achieving their goal. Family gathers in support. True friends are separated from the rest. And when born in a nation so rich with opportunity, the impossible becomes reality!

This has been Brent’s story.

Born in small town Wyevale, Ontario, Brent knew from a young age that he wanted to spend his time in the air. Brent’s early flight training was earned through the Air Cadet program. His first solo was in an Air Cadet glider, at age 16. Ten years later, Brent’s dream of becoming a CF-18 Hornet pilot was a reality. And through a fortunate series of events, he was selected to fly as a team pilot with the renowned Canadian Forces Snowbirds jet team in 2011.

Following his tour with the Snowbirds in 2012/2013, Brent took his airshow career to the next level. Purchasing a beautiful Pitts S-2, he had the good fortune of polishing his aerobatic prowess with airshow legend Wayne Handley.

2017 will mark Brent’s fourth season as an unrestricted, surface-rated aerobatic performer. Expect an adrenaline-filled, heart-pumping series of tumbles, torque rolls, and loops. The Pitts Special is THE airshow airplane to inspire young and old to pursue their passions!

Yellow Thunder

David Watson

David grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and after moving through Toronto and Calgary, now resides in Beaumont, Alberta. David is a business owner of which he began with his father over 20 years ago. Today he flies purely for recreation; he enjoys the discipline and skill required for aerobatic and formation flying.

In David’s younger years, he tagged along with his father and other Western Warbird Association members, flying (or riding) in everything from Chipmunks, Harvards, Mentors, Expeditors, and a wide variety of other warbirds.

He trained for his pilot’s license in the last Fleet Canuck in the Edmonton Flying Club fleet (C- FEOH) in 1985. Later that year, he immediately acquired a Harvard endorsement flying his father’s Harvard; the same aircraft he now owns and flies in the airshow circuit.

Over the years, David received some basic aerobatic training and has practiced aerobatics regularly since 2002. In 2007, he purchased a Yak-52 aircraft to fly competition aerobatics. David won first place in Sportsman’s category in 2009 - his first contest. David no longer competes, but now has focused his aerobatics in his Harvard.

David now combines his talents of aerobatics and formation flying to demonstrate his abilities to crowds in the Western parts of Canada and the United States.

Drew Watson

Drew resides in Edmonton with his wife, Wendy, and two teenage children. Drew is a business owner in the information technology sector, providing consulting services to businesses in the Edmonton region. Drew is a lifelong learner who, among his aviation education, is a recent graduate of Grant MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Commerce program.

Drew’s passion for warbirds started when he had his first ride in his father’s ex-RCAF Chipmunk. Drew was exposed to more warbirds as he grew up while travelling to various airshows, fly- ins, and social gatherings with his father. At these events Drew managed to scrounge rides by cleaning airplanes for their owners; these rides were in a variety of ex-military aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, B-25 “Mitchell” Bomber, Harvard, Cessna Crane “The Bamboo Bomber”, Stearman, and the Beech 18 ‘Expeditor’.

Drew purchased his first airplane, a Fleet Canuck, in 2000 and obtained his private pilot license in this airplane in 2002. Within two years, and a whole lot of practice, Drew was checked out in his father’s Harvard, now owned by his brother, David. Drew purchased his Harvard in 2002 from a family friend and used this airplane to get his commercial license shortly thereafter. Drew now mostly flies small twin engine airplanes for various companies in Central Alberta.

Drew can be found flying his Harvard with his brother, David, in the Ponoka, Alberta area or at various airshows in Western Canada and the United States.