Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Taylor Evans knows his way around the U.S. Navy — he spent three years at Oceana Naval Air Station as part of an international military exchange.
Evans, now a member of Canada’s elite fighter jet demonstration, drew on his Navy experiences Tuesday when he and other members of the Royal Canadian Air Force joined the U.S. Navy Blue Angels for series of joint training exercises.
“This is a great experience to coordinate and work closely with the Blue Angels in their hometown,” said Evans, who joined his teammates in a practice demonstration Tuesday afternoon at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Evans flew his Canadair CT-114 Tutor with U.S. Navy Lt. Dave Steppe, a Blue Angels pilot, in the backseat. Other Snowbird pilots are scheduled to fly with the Blue Angels on Wednesday.
The two demonstration squadrons met up late Sunday as the Snowbirds were returning from a show in Colorado Springs and the Blue Angels were returning from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The teams flew in formation together down Pensacola Beach.
“That took a lot of coordination, but it was very cool. It was a great experience to fly down the beach together,” Evans said.
Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Michele Tremblay is the public information officer for the Snowbirds. Tremblay said 26 members of the Snowbirds, including 11 pilots, are part of the three-day joint training in Pensacola.
Tremblay said the joint training is an unusual treat for both teams during incredibly busy air show season.
“We had a day off yesterday and some of the Blue Angels who have boats invited us to go out on the water and the beach. It was nice to have some downtime,” said Tremblay, who spent Tuesday working with Blue Angels public affairs staff.
The Blue Angels and the Snowbirds will reunite Aug. 11-12 at the Abbotsford International Air Show in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The Snowbirds are based in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Evans said the Royal Canadian Air Force is used to working closely with the U.S. military in locations around the world. Evans flew F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets and flew off air carriers during his deployment with the U.S. at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach.
Evans, a native of Canmore, Alberta, followed in the footsteps of his grandfather who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 37 years. Evans earned his flight wings in 2006 and has more than 2,000 hours of military jet flying experience. He flies the Snowbirds’ No. 9 jet as the opposing solo.
The Snowbirds and the Blue Angels are scheduled to fly again Wednesday at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly at 9 a.m. and the Snowbirds will fly at 2 p.m. The National Naval Aviation Museum will hold public views on its flight line for both practices.