Capt. Ave Pyne gets ready to take flight at the Snowbirds base in Comox.

Capt. Ave Pyne gets ready to take flight at the Snowbirds base in Comox.

Snowbird pilot soaring to new heights

From a young age, Ave Pyne was obsessed with airplanes.

From a young age, Ave Pyne was obsessed with airplanes.

When he was five years old, Pyne, who often travelled from Victoria to Australia to visit family, would sit on an airplane, pull out the in-flight magazine that shows the different aircrafts to fly on and memorize them, including the number of windows, doors and the type of engine in the aircraft.

While walking through the airport with his father, Pyne would often name all the different aircrafts he could see as well.

“I was an aviation geek at a young age. As a child, I remember sitting there and staring out at the landscape, particularly between Vancouver and Victoria and looking at the islands and just the beauty of it. That’s what really got me interested in aviation was just the background and phenomenal parts of the country that you can see,” said the 34-year-old former Ecole Victor-Brodeur student.

“It was one of those moments when you realize, this is more than just a hobby and something I’d like to do as a career.”

At the age of 13, he jumpstarted his aviation dreams by joining the air cadet program with the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Sidney. Four years later, he enrolled in the glider scholarship course in Comox, where he first became a pilot and later earned his private pilot license.

While he was attending the University of Victoria, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a pilot. He began training in Moose Jaw and, after being deployed on HMCS Winnipeg deterring pirates near Somalia, eventually returning to Moose Jaw to become a senior instructor with the 443 squadron.

While flying has always been a passion of his, in 2014, Pyne turned his dream into reality, and tried out to fly with the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds.

As part of the rigorous application process to be a part of the team, Pyne was forced to take a step back in time and fly a machine he had not flown before and was five years older than the ones he was used to working with.

But he overcame his obstacles and was selected to fly with the nine-aircraft team in 2014.

Last year was his first full season with the Snowbirds, flying as Snowbird two as the inner right wing.

“What I noticed when I joined the team was the standards were so much higher, the expectations were so much higher. Little errors that you would make on other platforms would ultimately be of no consequence to anybody else, but could be extremely consequential on this team,” Pyne said, adding they train from October to May, flying twice a day Monday through Friday.

“It was very challenging everyday to go out and make as few mistakes as you could.”

Now, the 2016 Snowbird season is gearing up with shows in the U.S. in May and Canada in the following months.

Pyne is excited to see parts of Canada he’s never seen before and hopes to inspire audiences young and old.

“Working with my fellow teammates and trying to strive for the best is an extremely challenging and rewarding thing,” Pyne said.

“Not only getting to fly a Snowbird aircraft, but also getting to represent Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces at the same time.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police arrested three men following a double stabbing April 19. The two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Three arrested after double stabbing in Victoria

Two people sent to hospital after being stabbed, hit with bear spray

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Father Marinaldo Batista, who served at Catholic parishes in Saanich and Sooke, died April 1 in Brazil from complications of COVID-19. (Facebook/St. Elizabeth Church)
Brazilian priest who served in Saanich and Sooke dies from COVID-19

Father Marinaldo Batista, 53, went to Brazil to visit his parents and died there April 1

A sewage pipe is pulled along Niagara Street in James Bay in 2018 as part of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment plant project. Over the next 10 years, the city will complete 78 new underground infrastructure projects, upgrading sewage, stormwater and water main pipes. (Black Press Media file photo)
Construction begins on Victoria’s 10-year pipe replacement project

78 underground infrastructure projects will cost $53.8 million

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Arson suspect arrested after apartment fire in Nanaimo

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

Most Read