Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 02, 2011 10:16 ET

Former Snowbird Gobeil Appointed 2012 CF-18 Demo Team Pilot

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2011) - On behalf of Major-General Alain Parent, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division, the Canadian Forces CF-18 National Demonstration Team is thrilled to announce the appointment of former Canadian Forces Snowbird Captain Patrick "Paco" Gobeil of 3 Wing Bagotville as the 2012 Demo Pilot.

A native of Ville de la Baie, Quebec, Captain Gobeil lived just outside of the airport in Bagotville. "I grew up looking at jets and as far as I can remember, I always knew that flying was going to be my ultimate goal in life; there is nothing else I wanted to do more," he explained.

Captain Gobeil graduated from the Centre Québécois de Formation Aéronautique (CQFA, Chicoutimi) with his commercial license in 1995. Enrolling in the Canadian Forces two years later, he graduated in 2000 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba receiving his Wings, and also the City of Portage La Prairie Flying Achievement Award.

In 2003, Captain Gobeil was selected to fly with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, and from 2004 to 2006 he flew as Snowbird 6 (Outer Right Wing) traveling with his teammates across North America to demonstrate the skills, professionalism and teamwork inherent in the Canadian Forces. In 2007, he completed his fighter lead-in training on the CT-155 Hawk at 4 Wing in Cold Lake, Alberta.

After completion of CF-18 Hornet training at 4 Wing's 410 Squadron, Captain Gobeil was posted to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, Les Alouettes, in Bagotville, Quebec in early 2009. While at 425 Squadron, Capt Gobeil participated in multiple domestic exercises in support of the Army High Readiness Training and NORAD missions. In 2010, Captain Gobeil was posted to 3 Wing Operations where he currently serves.

Captain Gobeil has flown over 4,000 hours in different types of civilian and military airplanes, of which nearly 3,000 hours have been flown in high performance military aircraft.

"Coming back home to fly Hornets was a special moment and I enjoy it every day that I have the chance to fly. Having the opportunity to represent the RCAF, 3 Wing, 425 Squadron and the people of my native town as the 2012 demo pilot is a true privilege and I am looking forward to a great summer."

Colonel Paul Prévost, Commander of 3 Wing, is clearly pleased to have Captain Gobeil acting as a CF ambassador. "It was an easy task to pick Captain Gobeil as our demo pilot for this year," he said. "He is a strong pilot with excellent flying skills, and also has the professionalism and public relations attributes required to carry out the task."

Each year, the CF-18 Demonstration Team features a different theme; for the 2012 season the theme will be "The True North, Strong and Free." The Demo Hornet will feature tail art - designed by 410 Squadron's veteran Design Director, Jim Belliveau - to embody this theme.

During the first week of May 2012 Captain Gobeil will be seen ripping up the skies over Comox, BC, where the team conducts its annual training before launching its 2012 air show season. "I know how much work is involved in organizing air shows, and our team will do what it takes to make a positive and lasting impression," he said.

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