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

Michelle Obama: In Conversation in Victoria, March 31

Former First Lady hosted by Victoria Chamber for moderated event at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Victoria veteran receives the National Order of the Legion of Honour

Lorne Frame was pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War

Saanich homeowner creates petition to abolish unrelated occupancy limits

Unrelated occupancy limits give rise to duelling petitions

Saanich fire station to receive green remodel after more than 40 years

New facility to feature solar panels, space for more emergency vehicles

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

StatCan says 3.2 million living in poverty, including 566,000 children

The child poverty rate of 8.2 per cent however is little changed from 2017

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Most Read