The Canadian Snowbirds returned to fly over Calgary and parts of southern Alberta on Wednesday as part of Operation Inspiration, meant to salute the COVID-19 pandemic's front-line workers.
Taking off around noon on Wednesday, their flight path was taking them over Calgary, Okotoks, Cochrane and Airdrie.
"It's just a sign of support," Maj. Brett Parker, pilot of Snowbird 7, told the Calgary Eyeopener earlier Wednesday.
"And it's just hopefully a sign of hope, and that's our way of being able to do that … is to put some jets in the sky and throw some smoke down and just kind of continue to encourage people to hang in there," he added.
The Snowbirds also planned to fly by major hospitals in Calgary.
"We're looking forward to being able to fly over, for example, the Southern Alberta Children's Hospital, and a lot of the other hospitals as well, just as a show of support," he said.
Parker says inspiration is what the Snowbirds are all about.
"I went to air shows as a kid, and that's what inspired me to become a pilot," he said. "So, I think that's the perfect name for what we're ultimately doing on a day-to-day basis."
It was Capt. Jenn Casey who came up with the name Operation Inspiration.
Casey was killed in a May 2020 crash in Kamloops, B.C., so Operation Inspiration has since then taken on a whole new meaning.
"A family comes together," said Parker, "and basically carry on that legacy of what she was ultimately doing."
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.