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Sarah Dallaire

Pilot, Snowbird 2 with the Air Demonstration Squadron 431
Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Air Force
Sarah Dallaire | Pilote
Sarah Dallaire | Pilote

Sarah Daillaire is a Pilot, Snowbird 2 with the Air Demonstration Squadron 431 for the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Air Force.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Quebec city and grew up in Levis, QC  Canada

I now live in: Moose Jaw, SK, Canada

I completed my training/education at: High school: Polyvalente de Levis, Cegep: College St-Lawrence and after 1 year I moved to a mechanical engineering technic at Cegep Levis-Lauzon.

What I do at work

I fly with the Air Demonstration Squadron; the Snowbirds. Our team mission is to inspire and demonstrate to the North American public what can be achieve when you combine; Skills, Professionalism and Teamwork together. We proudly fly a Canadian built jet, the Tutor. Its maintenance is simple and allows our technicians to keep it like new every time we fly. With the convenience of the Tutor side-by-side seat, we will travel with our technicians all season. Our team of 24 people travels together for 7 months!

I fly the #2 position, which is called the inner right wing position. My job is to fly as accurately and as smoothly as I can since I have people surrounding me. I need to do my job well so other people can do theirs as well. When you fly this close to each other, we can all affect one another. Flying formation is all done visually. I take information on three different points on the aircraft and use triangulation to know exactly my width, height and range (fore and aft) in reference to the other aircraft. I constantly need to adjust to stay in position.

One very important tool in our team is everyone’s recollection of events. We will debrief every single manoeuvre and one at a time, starting with the leader (#1) debrief our mistakes. We have specific terms that we use so everyone around the table has the same vocabulary and we can all understand each other quickly. For example, Thin means high, deep means low. If a pilot comes too tight (close) to another aircraft, the bow wave or wing vortices will affect them. As part of the debrief questions will be asked about what happen and how to prevent it in the future. We only focus on what we could have done better.

My career path is

As a young girl, I was inspired when I saw the first female Snowbird pilot perform in Quebec city – Maryse Carmichael. I immediately joined the Air cadet program and took every opportunity that I thought could put me closer to my dream of becoming a military pilot. At school, I remember struggling, finding it difficult to be in one place for the whole day. However, once I had a goal in mind, the work was effortless. I had found my passion and was going after it no matter how much extra I needed. It took about three applications to get in as a military pilot. At the time, this seemed like forever.

I am motivated by

What I truly cherish about being a Snowbird pilot is that for every mission we strive to learn from our mistakes. The constructive criticism that we provide one another is crucial. It not only betters our individual skill sets but it bonds us as a team to fly effectively as a team. Moreover, I am and always have been passionate about competing. The combination of mental factors such as preparation, visualization, coordination and anticipation are key components when striving to accomplish peak performance. It is clear to me that the best part of my job is that constant mental challenge. If I could achieve a perfect flight I can guarantee you, I would be searching for a new job.

How I affect people’s lives

Most of us saw the Snowbirds performed at one point in our life and instantly felt inspired. It was only a dream at the time. We all chased it and we feel grateful to be given the opportunity to inspire or maybe change someone’s perspective, showing him or her that anything is possible. When I joined the Air Force, I also knew I wanted to deploy and serve my country abroad. The Canadian Forces have so many opportunities available, one just need to take them.

Outside of work I

I like to say that I love everything that has two wheels, three if it comes with wings. I discovered motocross when I was 14 years old. Looking back, I realize now that it taught me a lot about the mental aptitude required to progress and stay safe in the sport. I also absolutely love travelling, learning new cultures, and different ways of life. I also enjoy reading on various subjects, learning new things. Another big part of my life is nutrition and training. They go hand in hand and without focusing on these two, I cannot expect myself to be able to perform.

My advice to others

The biggest fight in achieving your goals is with you. In my opinion, that’s a good thing because it is something you can work on and improve. Working on our attitude toward adversity, learning from our failures/ mistakes and having the perseverance to work on things we aren’t the greatest at. There are countless opportunities out there and the best thing you can do for you is to be ready when the occasion presents itself and take it. Understand that there will be bumps, detours that you hadn’t considered and embrace them because they teach us things we could not have learned otherwise.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Music
  • Physical Education / Health
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Liked being given free range to eplore my ideas
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Didn’t really care about grades
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things


Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed Forces

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