Press Release: Waterloo Warbirds Salutes Healthcare Workers, First Responders, and Essential Workers

Waterloo Warbirds will take to the skies in a salute to Healthcare Workers, First Responders and Front-Line Essential Personnel doing their part to support our communities during the fight against COVID-19.

Waterloo Warbirds’ Canadair T-33 Mako Shark will take flight with its signature toothy paint scheme and a trail of white smoke, in a tribute flyover of hospitals, police stations and long-term care facilities across the Region of Waterloo.

The team's iconic Harvard IIB will head towards Guelph with the signature sound of her Pratt & Whitney radial engine filling the sky and laying a trail of white smoke over hospitals, police stations and long-term care facilities in tribute to those on the front lines of this pandemic.

Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, one of six Canadian Armed Forces members lost in the helicopter crash during Operation REASURRANCE, will be honoured as part of the flyover of Guelph, his birthplace.

Waterloo Warbirds will be practicing several recommended protocols by having only pilots and essential airport personnel on site to launch the aircraft and using social distancing while on the ramp. Our jet pilots wear helmets that cover their entire face and breathe pure oxygen directly through the face masks while in the cockpit. Our Harvard pilots will be wearing the recommended personal protective equipment and are situated in 2 separate cockpits.

These flights of tribute will depart from the Region of Waterloo International Airport at approximately 11:30AM on Tuesday, May 12 th , 2020. Should inclement weather ground the aircraft for this planned flight, we will continue with our mission on a different date, to be announced separately.

We ask the public to watch from their yards and follow local directives on social distancing and staying at home. And, to refrain from coming to the airport, so that we may continue to keep the community safe. The flight plans will be posted on Waterloo Warbirds Facebook Page, Monday, May 11, 2020, along with any updates as they happen. Videos and photos captured during the flyovers can be tagged with @waterloowarbirds.

“We are proud Ambassadors to this regional area and wanted to honour the hard work and dedication of all those facing this crisis head-on”, said Derek Hammond, Waterloo Warbirds’ President and Director of Flight Operations. "Our team lives and works in these communities. It is important to us to show support, and we have a unique way to deliver our message and do our part to raise people’s spirits. We join everyone in mourning the loss of six Canadian Armed Forces members and are honoured to flyover in remembrance and tribute of fallen airmen."

Quick Facts

The Waterloo Warbirds fleet has four Cold War era fighter jets and one WW2 Trainer aircraft. Each of the aircraft represent a significant time in history and in the timeline of innovation in aviation.

Waterloo Warbirds is a volunteer run organization.