The SkyHawks have confirmed they will perform twice at the Penticton Peach Festival.

SkyHawks captain hates planes, loves jumping from them

The SkyHawks aerobatic parachute team will perform at the Penticton Peach Festival

Capt. John Hart — hates flying in planes, loves jumping out of them.

It is the strange dilemma the leader of one of the best aerobatic parachute teams in the world goes through daily.

“Absolutely,” agreed Hart, of the Canadian Armed Forces SkyHawks team that will perform at the Penticton Peach Festival again this year. “I’m not a big fan of flying. I know it makes no sense, but as far as I am concerned I like to control my own landing.”

As his heart rate jumps to 100 beats per minute every time he boards the Hercules aircraft that lifts the 15-member team to the altitude 12,500 feet they need to jump, Hart wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I hadn’t done any parachute work prior to the military. I am all about new experiences and doing things that scare me, and this scared me quite a bit. I think it is much better to face your fears, and everything you do in the military is not in the norm so it has been a wild ride every since I signed up,” said Hart.

Related: A bird’s eye view of being a SkyHawk

Even with over 800 jumps under his parachute, striding out of the C-130 Hercules, in some cases diving or somersaulting out into the sky, Hart said it can still feel like the first time.

“It just is a sensation that your body doesn’t agree with. You almost try to convince yourself to get out of jumping out of the plane, but it is just so much fun. I remember parts of my very first jump and that it was definitely the most scariest thing I have ever done. As soon as I hit the ground, I knew it was something I wanted to do over and over again,” said Hart.

For over 40 years the SkyHawks have represented Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces to over 75 million spectators worldwide under their signature Canadian flag parachutes.The team composition varies from year-to-year and all tare active or reserve members from across Canada. They hold annual tryouts and as soon as they fulfill their obligations with the SkyHawks they return to their home units.

“It’s a nice break from our usual occupation. It is a great experience to have in the army,” said Hart. “The coolest part of any event we go to is watching the children and the excitement on their faces as we land. They help us pick up our chutes and we give them stickers and bracelets and get a chance to speak with them so it is a lot of fun for us.”

Hart, who joined the army right out of high school with a scholarship to the Royal Military College of Canada, spent many years in the infantry before getting his chance with the parachute team.

“It had been 12 years since finding out about the SkyHawks parachute team and it was all I wanted to do. It was a long process to get here but fortunately a position opened up in 2016 and I jumped on it. I have been with them ever since,” said the 30-year-old Hart.

The SkyHawks will perform twice on Aug. 8 at the Penticton Peach Festival. They are expected to drop into Okanagan Lake Park from noon to 1 p.m. and again from 5 to 6 p.m. The SkyHawks team will also hold an autograph session at Okanagan Lake Park at 2 p.m.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan’s smoke filled skies toxic to pets

Pet owners should take extra precautions with pets until smoke dissipates

Powwow honours children

Between the Lakes powwow devotes Sunday to children

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Update Aug. 19 1:25 p.m. A majority of air support is still… Continue reading

Down and dirty for South Okanagan burrowing owls

Volunteers needed for a series of work camps to restory burrowing owl dens

Auntie Says: Mind your own buisness

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Smoke cancels Super League Penticton, organizers give pros a gift

Super League Penticton organizers decide to send all pro competitors to championship

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Crews continue extinguish Snowy Mountain Wildfire

The 13,359 hectare wildfire is classified as held

Flights from Kelowna International Airport affected by wildfire smoke

Passengers are being asked to check their flight’s status before arriving

Work continues on Monashee Complex wildfires

Crews will be assisted by helicopters if flying conditions improve

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

Most Read