Mark “Happy” LaVerdiere was born in the small town of Orillia Ontario, and found a love for aviation at a young age. His father owned a Cessna and Happy flew regularly with him. It was at this young age that Happy knew he wanted to be a world-class fighter pilot and a Snowbird.
An avid hockey player and natural athlete, the drive to compete and set goals became a part of everyday life since being a teenager. After high school Happy attended Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario and graduated from the Aviation Flight Management Program at the top of his class. During his time at college, Happy was selected to represent Ontario in a national amateur piloting competition (Webster Competition) and placed third in Canada at the age of 19.
Following graduation Happy enrolled in the Canadian Forces as a pilot and achieved his jet wings in 1995. After jet wings graduation in 1995 Happy served his first tour as a flight instructor on the Tutor jet, the same jet he flies now as a Snowbird pilot. In 1999 he was selected for fighter pilot training, where through hard work and dedication again graduated among the top in his class, and served as a CF-18 Hornet fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta until he was selected to the Snowbird team in the fall of 2006. During his time as a fighter pilot, Happy served in both Europe and throughout North America following the events of Sept 11th, 2001.
Happy has had the honor to be a member of the Canadian Snowbirds for 4 years (2007-2010), flying in the number 8 position-opposing and lead solo. While flying with the Snowbirds, Happy took pride in demonstrating the skill, professionalism, and teamwork of the men and women of the Canadian Forces throughout Canada and the United States. The experience Happy has gained in the role as a Canadian ambassador, both in the aggressive solo maneuvers that he flew on a daily basis and also his time spent doing various media events (school and hospital visits), will serve him well as he pursues his next goal of becoming world champion. Happy now lives in Barrie, Ontario, with his wife Carol and their twin children Kaden and Quinlan.
“Your spirit and your enthusiasm will soar to new heights after reading A Fighter Pilot’s Story. As I have repeatedly learned in my life, no success is without some kind of failure along the way, and Mark gives us a transparent look into his life and the “failures” he encountered while realizing a huge dream in his life. It will inspire you to dust off your own big dream and start working on it today. It would also make a great gift for anyone who’s been struggling and needs a big pick-me-up. Great read!”
— Vic Johnson, Founder www.AsAManThinketh.net