I arrived at Capt. Michael VandenBos School in Whitby today and was extended a warm greeting from Principal Karen Schmidlechner. She introduced me to Capt. Robert Gagnon, Advance and Safety Snowbird Pilot. He informed me that for a flypast over the school, the planes would need 1500 feet. They need a minimum of 500 feet above the flying altitude of 1000 feet for a flyby. Unfortunately the clouds were below 1500 feet and severe weather was heading eastward out of Toronto. The flyby got cancelled.
The day was not lost. Capt. Gagnon and two of his fellow pilots, went into the classrooms to speak with the students. They also posed with the students for a school picture. Why do they come to the school every year?
They come to honour one of their own, Capt. Michael J. VandenBos, who died in a training exercise in 1998 and for whom the school was named in 2001.
Why do I come to this school? The pilots are facinating and I learn a great deal simply speaking with them.
This is the first time in 10 years that a flyby was cancelled. Here’s hoping for blue skies next year.