CF-18 demo team ready to roar

2019 Demonstration Team

Capt. Brian Kilroy (below photo) of 4 Wing Cold Lake 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron flies over the base in preparing for demonstration shows to be held across Canada.
Photo: LS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

2019 Demo Team Hero Shot -Capt Kilroy

Cliff Kenyon

Capt. Brian Kilroy speaks softly, firmly and is focused.

You’d think perhaps he’s a surgeon detailing the steps to perform a lifesaving operation.

Or perhaps he’s a forensic accountant savoring the pleasure of finding a few missing cents in a balance sheet.

Calm, detailed and precise are his style at this moment, but he’s not a surgeon or an accountant.

Kilroy is a fighter pilot.

He’s giving a pre-flight briefing at Hangar 2.

Kilroy, of 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, the pilot chosen for this years CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team, was in the briefing room preparing for a practice run.

Soon, after reading his detailed script, he would be in the air. He talks about a square loop, a top side pass, a high speed pass, a wave pass, a downwind transition and hot spiral descent as if they are things we all do every day.

The calm in the briefing room is a warmup to the inevitable, the impending storm of the roar as his CF-18 Hornet comes to life.

Kilroy and his team want to wow you!

And they are succeeding.

Their mission is to tour Canada showing off the CF-18 at 15 locations.

It’s a show featuring one pilot and aircraft with the purpose of inspiring the audience to follow their motto “To the stars.”

For the past month they have been practicing their show at 4 Wing, before their performances began across Canada.

The team includes Lieutenant Becky Major who narrates the show, plus back up team members.

“It’s to show Canadians just what the CF-18 can do,” Major said. “The focus is on operations and showing that this is an operational aircraft.”

It’s thrilling as Kilroy puts the CF-18, with its distinguishing paint job on its tail, through climbs and dives and rolls for about 25 minutes.

“It’s a combat aircraft,” said Major. “The show doesn’t take away from our operational responsibilities.”

They are in Edmonton for shows Aug. 17 and 18. Other show stops are across the country.

Kilroy, after being picked as the CF 18 Demonstration show pilot, said he was thrilled with the “amazing opportunity to inspire the next generation.”

He has been flying for more than 10 years, with more than 1,000 hours in a CF-18 and more than 30 combat missions. He was born in Grand Prairie and is a graduate of the University of Alberta. As a child, Kilroy saw a CF-18 Demonstration performance and was inspired to become a fighter pilot.

“We’re challenging ourselves and Canadians to keep pushing the limits of what is possible and to keep innovating. I hope that this summer our team will inspire Canadians to think and dream big while also demonstrating the impressive capabilities of their Air Force.”