An experience like no other

Katie Brickman
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Warriors fly with the Snowbirds

Jack Rodewald probably won’t be looking into pilot school in his future, but he wouldn’t mind going up as a rider again in the future.

Jesse Forsberg (left) and Jack Rodewald (right) of the Moose Jaw Warriors share a laugh after their flight with the Snowbirds of 431 Squadron on Tuesday afternoon at 15 Wing. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The veteran forward with the Moose Jaw Warriors was just one of the four members of the club to participate in the unique experience of flying with the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron on Tuesday afternoon.

For the third straight year, the Warriors and the Snowbirds came together for a day to learn from each other.

The two teams talk about professionalism, respect, teamwork and being mentally prepared for all situations — on the ice or in the sky.

The four members of the Warriors that participated in the flight were Rodewald, Jesse Forsberg, Torrin White and general manager Alan Millar.

“Going on a flight with us can be physically challenging,” said Lt.-Col. Christopher England, commanding office of the Snowbirds. “They might be a little weak in the knees, but that just means they have had a good physical workout.”

The day was a success for all that participated, as those players that did not go up in the planes, learned how the Canadian Armed Forces prepare for a flight and how the team of over 100 members of the squadron must work together to fly properly.

For the four that went up in the planes, the smiles on their faces shortly after landing were proof of a good time.

“It was unbelievable … something else,” said Rodewald. “I never thought I would be doing anything like that. It was amazing just seeing how controlled the pilots are.”

Millar explained that his father worked in the airline industry, so he grew up around airports and planes, but the experience was still unbelievable.

However, it still didn’t prepare him for what his pilot had planned during the flight demonstration.

“You are not in the air long before you are inverted. My pilot was real good in terms of what was coming, but that first G-force was a negative G-force,” stated Millar. “It was a quick flip upside down and I came an inch out of my seat. The unbelievable thing is it is hard to visualize exactly what you are doing. When the plane right beside you does it after you do, you see what you did.

“We were upside down, straight up, straight down … from start to finish it was unique and special.”

White looked a little dazed after the flight, but was appreciative of the experience.

“I was impressed that I didn’t get sick at all, but I handled it a lot better than I thought I was going to,” he said. “I think we are lucky to have such a good relationship with the Snowbirds. I think they give us this amazing afternoon, so I think we need to return the favour,” White said.

The best part for Forsberg was being upside down and looking at the landscape.

“I never thought I would be doing that,” said Forsberg. “It was pretty special and something I won’t forget, that’s for sure.”

The Warriors will have a Snowbird night in the near future to honour the Snowbirds and 15 Wing at Mosaic Place.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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