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Canada's Snowbirds flying team cancels appearances so pilots can get more practice

The Snowbirds Canadian aerobatic jets fly over the Peace Tower at the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Monday, July, 1, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Canada’s famed Snowbirds acrobatic flying team is cancelling appearances at a number of airshows in Ontario and the United States so some of its pilots can get more practice.

Officials are blaming bad weather earlier in the year for having shortened the team’s training time.

The nine-plane team has flown a number of shows this year, including a joint flight with a French team over Parliament Hill at the beginning of May.

But Maj. Patrick Gobeil says it was determined that more practice was necessary after some of the planes were seen deviating from their positions mid-flight.

As a result, the Snowbirds are pulling out from two airshows later this month in Ontario, and four other airshows in the U.S.

The Snowbirds, in their iconic white, red and blue Tutor jets, have been entertaining airshow visitors in Canada and across the U.S. since 1971.