Cpt. Kilroy soars in Royal Canadian Air Force

Kilroy will travel across the country to perform at a number of airshows and teach the public about his work as an aviator.

Captain Brian Kilroy with one of his CF-18's at an airbase. A former Stony Plain resident, Kilroy was recently named to the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team for 2019. Submitted photo.

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Brian Kilroy will see one of his ambitions from his youth take flight this summer when he begins doing public outreach events for the air force.

In December 2018, the 34-year-old former Stony Plain resident was named by the Royal Canadian Air Force as a member of their 2019 CF-18 Demonstration Team. Kilroy will travel across the country to perform at a number of airshows and teach the public about his work as an aviator.

“Growing up my parents took me to airshows,” he said. “I got to see the [CF-18] Hornet demonstration a few times and that is kind of what got my whole aviation spark going to begin with. I have been flying it [since 2013].”

Each year, the demonstration team rotates between different bases and recently came up to CFB Cold Lake to look for applicants. Kilroy thought it would be interesting and submitted a memo on why he would be a good candidate. For him, much of his quality was rooted in giving back publicly.

“For me, the interest was in giving back a bit as opposed to doing tactical work which the public does not see,” Kilroy said. “It is nice to sort of show what we do. I have been on other public relations events and sort of enjoyed it so it will be interesting to do it in the summer and [educate the public].”

Captain Brian Kilroy with colleagues from the air force. Submitted photo.

While many are familiar with the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron Snowbirds out of Saskatchewan, Kilroy was quick to note his demonstration team is rather different from the better-known group. They fly a different plane and do formation flights together, whereas the CF-18 team rotates location and also changes up members at the end of every demo season.

“I am just on it for the 2019 airshow season,” he said. “We start training in an April-May timeframe and the first show is in June. I do the shows and then train pilots for the next season. I am being trained by the 2018 team.”

Kilroy’s military career has taken him to Romania and Iraq. Though he now finds himself performing a different mission, he is still hopeful he can make an impact. Less than one per cent of Canadians serve in the armed forces, but through being a demonstration team member, he thinks he can ignite the spark in the next generation and find someone like himself in the nation.

“When we are out with people, you see the kids sparkle,” Kilroy said. “I am hoping someone out there is like me and will be in my spot someday doing the next generation demonstration team. I hope it impacts future fliers.”

For the moment, he has not performed as a team member yet, but his family is proud.

“His dad and I are extremely proud of Brian’s accomplishments,” mother Vivian Kilroy wrote in a Facebook message to the Reporter/Examiner. “He knew he wanted to fly even when he was a little boy … I guess I inherited the love of flying from my dad and I guess I passed it on to my child.”

The schedule for the 2019 team will see Captain Kilroy visit 15 different sites across Canada as well as the Parliament Hill flypast on Canada Day. He will be in Springbank, Alberta from July 27-28 and Edmonton from Aug. 17-18.

 

epretzer@postmedia.com

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