ST. CLOUD --  Some of the best pilots in the Royal Canadian Air Force stopped by St. Cloud Tuesday.

They were here to fuel up for their trip to Gaylord, Michigan for the "Thunder Over Michigan" air show. The "Snowbirds" are Canada's version of our own Blue Angels.

RCAF Captain and "Snowbird 2" Ave Pyne says their mission is about the same as the angels.

"We are ambassadors for the Canadian Forces, our objective is to demonstrate the skill,professionalism and team-work of the men and women of the Canadian Forces, and within that we act as a liaison between civilians and the military, and a recruiting tool."

Captain Pyne says their training isn't for the faint of heart.

"The training is very intensive, every year the team puts out a competition letter for applications, we go through the files, and select eight for a flight evaluation. During that eval the candidates have up to eight flights to show us what they can do. If they're selected for the team, then we aim for about 100 training sorties to be show ready."

The Snowbirds have used the same type of plane, a CT-114 Tutor since they started in 1967. They have 11 total, with nine in active use.

Photo: Richard Leguil, WJON