Editorial – Canadian Hearts Embrace Snowbirds Following Tragedy in Kamloops

In Editorial

Never met her, but every person in Canada is thinking about Captain Jennifer Casey and members of the RCAF Snowbirds.

Casey was with Captain Richard MacDougall in a Snowbird, CT-114 Tutor jet taking off from Kamloops, British Columbia on Sunday, May 17, 2020 went something went horribly wrong.

The jet plummeted to the ground. Both Casey and MacDougall ejected from the aircraft.

MacDougall landed on a roof in a subdivision, and was taken to a hospital.

It’s been reported that Casey died immediately.

The video appears to show that neither parachute fully opened.

The Snowbirds were on a cross Canada tour called Operation Inspiration. To inspire Canadians who are fighting this disease called COVID-19.

People may question, was Operation Inspiration worth it?

Should these jets which are over 50-years old be flying?

Let’s tackle the first question. Yes, it was worth it. The Snowbirds are loved by Canadians. Everywhere they travel. Small towns, large cities. The Snowbirds are who we want to be.

They inspired people across Canada on this tour and have been doing exactly that for decades.

In the simplest form. Pilots need hours in the air. If Operation Inspiration did that along with inspiring Canadians. Why not?

Should the jets be flying at that age is a bit more complex. They are aged jets, but this wasn’t a stunt manoeuvre in an air show. It was simply taking off from Kamloops travelling to the next destination. Every plane or jet does that. This was no different.

No one knows what exactly happened. Speculation of course is something mechanical with the jet suffering a loss of power.

Either way, the Royal Canadian Air Force has lost an ambassador for our military and our Country. While another lays in hospital.

The entire flight took less than a minute.

Meeting the Snowbirds several times over the years, they are a very tight team. The loss must be weighing heavily on MacDougall.

Operation Inspiration has been put on hold indefinitely. The Snowbirds have been grounded.

One life lost, another will carry the questions for the rest of his life.

As the Snowbirds support us. It is our time to support them. With anything we can do.

Reading posts over the day on Sunday, I remembered taking photos at the Peterborough Air Show last year and wondered if I had any photos of Casey who joined the military in 2014.

Sometimes I think pictures or a picture say it best.

In the five photos taken of Capt. Jenn Casey, who was Public Affairs Officer for the team, you can see her pride in her job. Taking photos of the jets preparing for their show at Peterborough Airport.

Walking along the tarmac as the pilots get ready in their cockpits for a show for thousands. Casey slowly walked by the jets taking photos and videos with her phone.

Sure it’s a “job,” like any other job. But when looking at the final photo, it shows the passion she had for it. It’s the passion of what you do in life that makes a person who they are.

She was walking away from the jets as they taxied for the show. I managed captured two photos of her walking towards the camera.

The first one, she seemed surprised the camera was on her and not the jets, but the second one had her starting to smile.

It’s that photo, you can see a glimpse of Casey’s character.

About her pride being a member of the Snowbirds, her love for the job, and the passion.

Canada mourns for the loss of Capt. Casey and the bright future she would have had in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Capt. MacDougall is also in the thoughts of every Canadian.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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