Pilot & Theme Announced For 2015 CF-18 Demo
Next year Captain Denis "Cheech" Beaulieu will pilot the CF-18 Hornet and help commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Capt. Beaulieu joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2006 completing his CF-18 training 5 years later and was posted to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Quebec. Prior to joining the military he graduated in 2005 with a mechanical engineering degree from Sherbrooke University and from an engineering school in France where he spent two years as an exchange student. During his time at 425 Squadron, Capt Beaulieu has participated in multiple missions and exercises over Canada, the USA and South America as well as NATO missions in Iceland and Romania. He has over 1,100 flying hours on high performance military aircraft 780 hours of which is on the CF-18 Hornet. "I am really looking forward to taking the CF-18 all over Canada and the United States", said Captain Beaulieu adding, "This job gives me the opportunity to celebrate aviation with audiences all over, while flying the Hornet in a way that few pilots get to fly. Best of all, I get to do this all with a team of highly talented professionals who work together to put on a great show."
The Canadian Hornet will be specially painted in a unique commemorative paint scheme designed by veteran Design Director, Jim Belliveau, at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta (see some of Jim's previous work below). The Demo Hornet will be revealed early in the new year prior to the start of the air show season. Major-General David Wheeler, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region said, "The Royal Canadian Air Force has yet another opportunity to connect with its cherished history by commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with our CF-18 demonstration team. Captain Beaulieu has proven his abilities and will be a great representative of the RCAF all over North America this year." More than 100 Canadians flew in the Battle of Britain, principally as members of the RCAF’s No. 1 Squadron (later renamed 401 Squadron) and the RAF’s 242 “All Canadian” Squadron. An estimated 300 Canadians served as ground crew. 23 Canadians were killed.
Captain Beaulieu and the CF-18 Demonstration Team will first take to the sky over Comox, BC, in April for training before launching the 2015 air show season. Last year's team was given a Pinnacle Award by the International Council of Air Shows for their innovative mini-ground crew (see video below) and selfie programs (see photos below) connecting them to the public in a very creative and successful way. I'm hoping both will continue in 2015.
Photos: The Canadian Forces, The CF-18 Demonstration Team, Benoit Foisy