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Chris Hadfield Earns His Wings In Gatineau

Chris Hadfield Earns His Wings In Gatineau

“Good morning, Earth!” That is how Colonel Chris Hadfield—writing on Twitter—woke up the world every day while living for five months aboard the International Space Station. Through his 21-years as an astronaut, three spaceflights and 2600 orbits of Earth, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the Moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters. Colonel Hadfield is in Ottawa, where he is flying with the Canadian Snowbirds today:

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield went into space and captured our imagination.

He tweeted, he floated, he flipped, and he sang his way into our hearts.

And on Tuesday, he’s flying with the Canadian Snowbirds.

The former commander of the International Space Station will be the guest of honour at the Wings Over Gatineau air show where he will fly in formation with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds during part of their demonstration.

At least, that’s the plan. And it’s Hadfield’s hope.

Another check off the bucket list?

No, absolutely not. Hadfield makes it clear he doesn’t have one. Never has.

“I just try to do what I think is important. I work hard and I’ve been at it my whole life. It’s interesting that other people celebrate that and now I can come and host a leadership summit with 1,000 young students from the Ottawa Valley,” Hadfield said in an interview with the Sun Monday at the Gatineau Airport.

“And I can fly with the Snowbirds. It’s great the things people have taught me, and things I’ve learned since then, that have been deemed worthwhile and it’s a great thing to be part of it. It’s very cool, it’s a cool thing to be part of,” Hadfield said.

Hadfield will be flying a 1950s-era jet fighter, an F-86 Sabre in the livery of the legendary RCAF Golden Hawks aerobatic display team that flew from 1959 to 1964.

The event runs Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Gatineau airport.

So what could be left for a man who has already done so much?

“I worked as an astronaut for 21 years, worked at a lot of different support jobs on the ground, did a lot of training and tried to share it as best I could. But I was lucky in my third mission to space there was the internet, there was social media and they gave me the opportunity to not just keep it to myself but to share something really rare with everybody. It was a lovely position to be in. It’s wonderful to see the influence now,” he said.

So are there more thrills to chase?

It’s the only time Hadfield’s easy going demeanour changes, ever so slightly.

“I’m not a thrill seeker, I’m just not. And I think people might have the wrong idea about that. I do things that I think are worthwhile and try to do them really well. I think people see it differently.

“I don’t know how to oil paint, for example. I admire people who can. I respect other people’s abilities,” he said.

Susan Sherring/Ottawa Sun/June, 2015