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SkyHawks parachute team wows locals with tandem jumps

'I think the biggest thing for me was the jump out of the plane and that was the best part, the 45 seconds of free falling'

Brad Gavan had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to do a tandem jump with the SkyHawks parachute demonstration team back in 2019. 

But the Canadore College administrator believes getting another opportunity to tandem jump with Canada's only military parachute demonstration team was well worth the wait. 

"In 2019, I did not get to jump so this time when I went I thought I knew what to expect but I was not nervous at that point," said Gavan.  

"I think the biggest thing for me was the jump out of the plane and that was the best part, the 45 seconds of free falling and then being free just looking at the city and yelling out and having a great time." 

Corina Moore, CEO at Ontario Northland, says it was an amazing feeling to jump at 13,000 feet. 

"It was such a beautiful day and I could see so much of the entire region - including our rail yards and bus garage," she said. 

"The SkyHawks are unbelievable, another checkmark off the bucket list." 

Peter Chirico, president of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce also took the jump. 

"I was having the time of my life," he admitted. 

"I am unbelievably fortunate to do this and especially with the best in the world, the SkyHawks." 

The parachute team will be doing an official demonstration jump on Wednesday in front of a huge crowd expected on the North Bay waterfront on Wednesday. Today, the crew met with the media and ran tandem jumps for some local dignitaries

Captain Pierre-Alexandre Dufour, Team Captain of SkyHawks, is thrilled to be doing events like this cross-country again.  

"It is awesome we love being able to travel around Canada again and be able to show Canadians what we do and we are happy to go to those events that our outside the big air show circuits so we can come and see our military communities and the city that supports them," said Capt. Dufour.  

Capt. Dufour says the excitement from the tandem jumpers is priceless.  

"They love to share their experiences and it allows someone who doesn't have the training to skydive and take them to the sky and feel what it is like to free fall," he said. 

Capt. Dufour believes it takes a special person to want to jump out of a perfectly good plane.  

"You have to love skydiving and having it as a passion and you need either military freefall qualifications or a civilian license with CSPA, 60 jumps and then you get to come with us on a training camp and if you are taken then you get to do an awesome summer of travelling Canada and wowing the crowds everywhere," he said. 

Tomorrow's event 2022 marks the tenth year the City of North Bay has hosted an in-person Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day recognizes the efforts of all military personnel currently serving in the City of North Bay.

It provides the military an opportunity to showcase equipment, highlight training and offer military demonstrations by various units to the City of North Bay and surrounding areas. Two Canadian Armed Forces Demonstration teams (the SkyHawks and the Snowbirds) are in North Bay to help celebrate Armed Forces Day.