2012 Demo Hornet revealed at 3 Wing
Mar. 2, 2012
By Captain Holly Brown
In a small ceremony yesterday at 3 Wing, Bagotville, Que., the 2012 CF-18
Demonstration Hornet was officially unveiled by Colonel Paul Prévost, wing
commander, and Captain Patrick "Paco" Gobeil, the 2012 Demo Pilot.
Each year, the CF-18 Demonstration Team features a unique theme; for the
2012 season it is "The True North, Strong and Free". The Arctic theme is
timely and relevant, as the defence of Canadian sovereignty and the
protection of territorial integrity in the Arctic are a top priority for the
Government of Canada and, by extension, to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
"More than a third of Canada is located north of the 60th parallel," said
Col Prévost. "For us in Québec, the North begins just a few miles from here
[Bagotville] at the 49th parallel and includes more than two-thirds of our
"The True North, Strong and Free" speaks to the magnificence of Canada's
North and to the Canadian resolve to demonstrate a visible presence there
and have the capacity to defend our Arctic territory.
To embody this concept, this year's Demo Hornet displays tail and dorsal art
capturing the Arctic landscape and its people. It also features 13
distinctive snowflakes -- representing Canadas provinces and territories,
as well as the 13 RCAF Wings -- scattered across a dramatic Arctic blue
Created by Jim Belliveau, veteran graphic design director of 410 Squadron at
4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., each snowflake also represents a unique northern
theme. The complexity of the snowflakes, each of which required a separate
stencil with numerous intricate pattern pieces that all had to be separated
by hand, made the implementation of this year's design a painstaking
"Our biggest challenge was time, the only factor we couldn't control," said
Mr. Belliveau. But pressure also can add a positive stress. "Even though we
had a plan...the whole process had an air of immediacy and spontaneity about
This year's design is Mr. Belliveau 20th, and with a trip to 3 Wing every
two years to oversee the painting process, Bagotville has become like a
second home. "I have always enjoyed working with 3 Wing," he said. "Everyone
is professional and welcoming, always eager to jump in and be part of both
the creative and technical processes."
For 2012 Demo Pilot Capt Pat Gobeil, being able to watch the painting
process over the last several weeks has been an unforgettable experience.
"The jet has been in the paint bay for almost two months now and the work
that has been done on the airplane is tremendous. There are many challenges
that come with painting a supersonic jet and Jim Belliveau, Sergeant Harold
Girard, Corporal Claude Houde, and their entire team took up the challenge
with outstanding results. They are the best at what they do."
During the first week of May 2012 the colourful jet will be seen ripping up
the skies in the Comox, B.C. area, where the entire team will come together
for its annual training before launching its 2012 air show season.
"We have the nicest airplane on the planet, a great team and I am looking
forward to the start of the air show season," said Capt Gobeil.
Photo Credit: MCpl Steeve Picard