Airshow takes off across the Northwest Territories

Military planes and helicopters are starting a tour of the western arctic in Yellowknife Saturday.

Military planes and helicopters start northern tour in Yellowknife

The bi-annual Yellowknife Air Show will feature the Royal Canadian Air Force's Snowbirds. (The Canadian Press)

Northern skies may be noisier than usual this weekend, as military planes and helicopters start a tour of the Western arctic.

The visit is officially a Royal Canadian Air Force training exercise.

"We're bringing multiple different types of aircraft to many different locations: rotary, fixed wing, some jet aircraft. We're going to show all the different roles the royal Canadian aircraft can put on in different environments around Canada," said Cpt. Thomas Edelson.

"As part of Canada’s first defence strategy, we have to be able to operate anywhere in Canada, anytime. What an exercise allows us to do in the north is train in a controlled environment," added Maj. Steve Thompson.

The bi-annual Yellowknife air show will feature the stunt-flying Snowbirds, a crowd favourite.

Friday the Ct-114 Tudor planes flew in formation over the capital, practicing vertical maneuvers and close passes.

Until 2000, they were the training aircraft for the Canadian Forces.

The well-known fleet has come north as part of Operation Northern Reach.

Because there’s a bit of show business involved, some of the planes will be decorated for the occasion.

Two fighter jets, CF-18s hornets, will display northern designs.

"The airplane … features an Inuit hunter with a ranger on one tail, the northern lights, 13 stylized snowflakes. They represent the 13 provinces and territories," said Thompson.

Other aircraft include Hercules planes and a variety of helicopters including Cormorants and Sea Kings.

On Tuesday, planes will head north to Invuik, N.W.T., followed by Norman Wells, N.W.T., on Thursday. They will move further west, visiting Watson Lake, Yukon, on Saturday and Whitehorse on Wednesday, July 25.