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Watch Canada’s NORAD Tribute CF-18 Fly The MACH LOOP!

This Beautiful Hornet From Up North is a Tribute Jet With Few Equals

Canada's 2018 CF-18 "NORAD 60" tribute jet paid a visit to the world-famous Mach Loop in Wales on July 10, as part of their two week trip to the UK to help celebrate the long history between Canada and the Royal Air Force. The team also performed at the 2018 RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day and Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT). Photo Credit: RCAF Cpl Ryan Moulton

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canadian Forces CF-18 Demo Team NORAD Tribute jet is currently across the pond on a two-week trip to the UK to help celebrate the long history between Canada and the Royal Air Force. On July 7 they performed at the RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, and today, they are wrapping up performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

But between shows, they made a visit to the world-famous Mach Loop in North Wales on July 10, and the footage is pretty awesome.

Piloted by RCAF Captain Stefan Porteous, the 2018 demo jet is painted in tribute to the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD as it’s more commonly known, honoring the cooperation between Canada and the United States in monitoring and defending North America together over the past six decades, and shining light on the importance of “honoring the past, guarding the present, and protecting the future.”

The big inspiration behind the design is the NORAD crest; all the elements of the paint job are taken from that. The colors key off of that too, with red and white colors representing the Canadian flag, and red white and blue representing the American flag, taking blue out of the NORAD crest as well.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 2018 CF-18 Demo Jet, painted in tribute to this year’s 60th anniversary of NORAD. The CF-18 jet is seen here joined by another jet from RCAF 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron, the RAMS. Photo Courtesy: Mike Reyno / SKIES Magazine

A wing-type shape on the wings reflects Canada’s famous Northern Lights, as well as radar sweeps, and is combined into one element. Lightning bolts shoot down the jet’s backside too, again taken from the NORAD crest, while a sword, star and maple leaf grace the jet’s tail.

Joining Captain Porteous in the Mach Loop was the CF-18 team’s backup demo jet, as well as their CC-130J Hercules support aircraft. The backup jet even gave spectators a wave on his second pass, rocking side to side between the mountains, while the CC-130J crew got about as low as they possibly could.

Above, watch some stunning footage from YouTuber Elwyn R of all three aircraft in the Mach Loop. The team’s visit was not only their first to the Mach Loop, but was also the first time any F-18 Hornet has ever visited it as well.

Porteous even lit his afterburners on his second pass, and it was glorious (videos from YouTuber Jamie Chadwick).

All total the team is scheduled to perform at 26 air shows this year, and with RIAT now behind them, the team has 16 more, the next of which brings them back home to Canada for the Cold Lake Air Show at RCAF 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta, which is the busiest fighter base in Canada, scheduled for July 21-22.

And just like their jet, that air show itself is themed this year to honor the 60th anniversary of NORAD.

You can follow the team daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Follow Mike Killian on Instagram and Facebook, @MikeKillianPhotography.



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Mike Killian

Written by Mike Killian

Killian is an aerospace photographer and writer, with a primary focus on spaceflight and military and civilian aviation. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, in clean rooms with spacecraft destined for other worlds, front row for launches of historic missions and on numerous civilian and military flight assignments.

When not working the California-native enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, storm chasing, producing time-lapses and shooting landscape and night sky imagery, as well as watching planes of course.

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