CAF Story | This Air Cadet Became an Aviation Technician for the Snowbirds
Cpl Justin Shantidatt: But there are still times I’ll be looking up and I’ll be watching, listening to the music. It makes me think there’s people in the crowd we’re making happy; we’re influencing younger people.
From early on I knew I wanted to go into the Air Force because I like the structure of the cadet system. I’m a technical hands-on kind of guy, so it made sense to choose the path that I chose. I love my job a lot. A lot of people choose between their passion and a job that they can support themselves with, and I get the best of both worlds. I work on engine systems, hydraulics, landing gear, basically the meat and potatoes of the plane.
We do a lot of engine changes. These engines are rated for a very short period of time compared to other commercial aircraft, just because of the high performance they require. So these engines come out every 200-hours maximum. And 200-hours of flying sounds like a lot but it adds up really quickly when you’re flying twice a day, sometimes even more than that.
In my spare time I’m looking at the new jets coming out, the technology that’s available. Just kind of giving myself knowledge because this jet was designed in the ‘50s.
Newsreel announcer: From the Canadian Forces base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, came the Canadair Tutor jet trainers, the Snowbirds.
Cpl Justin Shantidatt: We’re checking the jet, well we’re going to be flying it afterwards, so it’s their trust that we’re doing our job. We’re in there too, so it’s like their insurance claim that we did our job properly.
My dad loves planes, just as much as I do, so he’s always happy to talk the technical stuff with me and hear what I have to say. I guess my passion for aviation came from him. When I was three years old I was doing a helicopter tour over Niagara Falls.
I like that we get to travel around and interact with the public, and I like the busy pace we have; it keeps me out of trouble. I was nineteen when I moved out here. That’s a long travel for a young person to do. Being from Mississauga, this is about 3000 kilometres away. It was a little bit weird not having that support structure. This was my first time that I knew I was going to be far away from home for a very long time. I’ve made a lot of friends out here that have helped me get through that and have become like a second family to me and it’s great that I get to work with those guys.
I’m Corporal Justin Shantidatt, I’m an Aviation Systems Technician at 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
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