Maj. Michelle Curran of the Thunderbirds and Capt. Sarah Dallaire of the Snowbirds are set to make history this weekend at the Abbotsford International Airshow. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: Female pilots making history at Abbotsford International Airshow

Women flying for the first time with both the Thunderbirds and the Snowbirds on Saturday and Sunday

The Abbotsford International Airshow is celebrating its 57th year, but Saturday features a first for the event and for airshows in general.

Saturday marks the first time ever that both the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the USAF Thunderbirds have a female pilot performing in their ranks.

Capt. Sarah Dallaire of the Snowbirds and Maj. Michelle Curran both take to the skies on Saturday, and the pair are thrilled to see more females entering the cockpit.

Dallaire, a Quebec native, began pilots training back in 2001 when she joined the 776 Air Cadet Squadron. From there she joined the Canadian Armed Forces through the Continuous Education Officer Training Program as a Royal Canadian Airforce pilot in 2007. She was then posted at two Canadian forces flying schools and was also deployed in Kuwait for six months. Dallaire then applied to join the Snowbirds and was selected to join the team in 2017.

Curran, a Wisconsin native, is a 2009 graduate of the University of St. Thomas’s Air Force ROTC program. She also served as an F-16 instructor pilot in Texas and has logged more than 1,200 hours as a pilot, including more than 160 combat hours. This is her first season with the Thunderbirds.

Dallaire is just the second woman ever to perform with the Snowbirds, and said she was inspired by Maryse Carmichael – the first woman to become a Snowbird.

“I was 12 years old and all it took was the first time I heard her name on the PA and she put a flame into my heart,” she told The News on Friday afternoon.

She said never thought she’d become a Snowbird, but she kept pushing and pushing to the next step and realized her dream was in reach.

Curran’s path was similar, with a lot of hard work and pushing to keep reaching the next goal. There have been four other females that have been a member of the Thunderbirds. She said it’s great to see females become more aware and interested in the path she’s taken.

“What’s really cool now is that with social media now people will reach out to me directly and send me messages,” she said. “It’s cool to see tangible results.”

Curran and the Thunderbirds perform at 1:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, while Dallaire and the Snowbirds take to the skies both days at 3:30 p.m.

For more on the show, visit abbotsfordairshow.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nakusp businesses struggle to stay afloat during COVID-19 crisis

One local business has reported a 90 per cent loss in sales over last month

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Kootenay morning start: Discover the history and beauty of New Denver

Here is your morning start for Tuesday, April 7

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Nakusp store launches delivery service by donation for those in need during COVID-19 crisis

Hilltop Convenience Store has been getting up to three calls a day for the service

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Most Read