WATCH: As a child, Capt. Stefan Porteous was inspired by the visiting Snowbirds and F-18’s every spring. Now he’s flying an F-18 in those same skies. Dean Stoltz has more.
The skies over the Comox Valley have been roaring with the sound of jet planes this week and the CF-18 Hornet has been a big draw for hundreds of people taking in the free shows during spring training.
The F-18 is at 19 Wing Comox along with the Snowbirds Air Demonstration team for a final tuneup before hitting the air show circuit this summer.
Behind the controls in the Hornet is none other than Comox’s own Capt. Stefan Porteous.
“It’s exhilarating. it’s a thrill,” he said. “Thirty thousand pounds of thrust, you know when you hit the after burners on takeoff, you get slammed back into the seat. It’s just amazing. It’s like riding a rocket is really what it feels like.”
And it’s a dream come true for Porteous who now flies above the same streets where he once delivered newspapers, looking up at the Snowbirds and F-18 wondering if he could do the same thing some day.
“It’s very special for me to be in this position because I remember being that paper carrier, that cadet that would come out to see airplanes and speak to air force pilots and think you know that could be me one day,” said Porteous. “It’s very special to think that maybe I’m inspiring the next generation and really that’s what we’re here for.”
The graduate of Highland Secondary School in Comox has flown missions in Iraq but will spend this summer as the demonstration pilot flying an F-18 with a new paint job commemorating Canada’s 60 years in the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which protects North American airspace.
“Every day, 365, there are fighter pilots ready to go on the east and west coast and in the United States as well to be scrambled to respond to anything really that we are called to do.” said Porteous.
The F-18 and Snowbirds will practice in the skies over Comox through next week.