Nova Scotia

South Shore flying club takes to the skies after Snowbirds cancel visit

A flying club on Nova Scotia's South Shore stepped up to provide a flyby over Lunenburg on Wednesday after the Canadian Forces Snowbirds cancelled a scheduled visit.

'I'd say we had a very loose diamond formation,' says president of flying club

A small passenger plane is seen flying over Lunenburg on Wednesday. The Bluenose Flying Club decided to perform a flyover after the Canadian Forces Snowbirds cancelled their visit. (Christie Dann)

A flying club on Nova Scotia's South Shore took to the skies on Wednesday to perform an impromptu flyover after the Canadian Forces Snowbirds cancelled their Lunenburg visit.

"The club has its heart and home near Lunenburg … so it was just something that felt right," said Jeremy Dann, the president of the Bluenose Flying Club.

The Snowbirds cancelled their flybys for Halifax and Lunenburg after "unforeseen circumstances" delayed their transit schedule.

Dann said the club heard about the cancellation on Tuesday afternoon.

A small passenger plane is seen flying over Lunenburg on Wednesday. Jeremy Dann, the president of the Bluenose Flying Club, led the formation during the flyover. (Christie Dann)

"We were really looking forward to seeing them but we were obviously disappointed," Dann said Thursday. "We understand, though, that they had some mechanical issues at their home base and it messed up the schedule."

The cancellation was still on Dann's mind when he attended the weekly barbecue put on by the club that evening.

"It became a discussion over hamburgers, actually, on the barbecue, that maybe we could do something to fill in," he said.

Flying club had to wing it

The Bluenose is seen in Lunenburg's harbour while four planes participate in a flyover on Wednesday. (Christie Dann)

The next morning — after numerous phone calls and discussions about safety — six pilots with the club were preparing to perform their flyover.

Dann said the team met north of Mahone Bay to practise their formation only 20 minutes before heading toward Lunenburg.

"All of us have done something like this before, but certainly not like that, with that large a group so it was a little bit nerve-racking," he said.

Dann led the formation and the team did several loops of the Lunenburg area. On the last pass, the team dipped a bit lower and came up the harbour by the Bluenose, in honour of its 100th anniversary.

Lunenburg harbour is seen from above during a flyover on Wednesday. Six pilots with the Bluenose Flying Club participated. (Christie Dann)

Despite their lack of practice, Dann said the flyover was successful and the team had a lot of fun.

"The Snowbirds are very accomplished. We're used to seeing their wonderful diamond formations in the air. I'd say we had a very loose diamond formation," he said with a laugh.  

Dann said so far the response from the community has been positive. He's even received "wonderful feedback" from the Lunenburg organizing committee.

The Bluenose is seen in Lunenburg harbour on Wednesday during a flyover. Dann said the flyover was also in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose. (Christie Dann)

"One of the committee members said it made her heart sing, so we feel really good about that," he said.

Dann said the club would be willing to do another flyover, but next time with more notice, planning and practice.

"We're all great fans [of the Snowbirds] and lifelong aviation fans," he said. "Some of us have been flying all our lives and it's just great to be part of all this." 

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