'It's such a great loss': B.C. pilots take part in memorial flyover for Snowbirds member killed in crash
VANCOUVER -- Dozens of Metro Vancouver pilots took part in a memorial flyover Monday evening to honour the life of Capt. Jennifer Casey, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds member who died in a crash in Kamloops on Sunday.
Thirty-five members of the BC General Aviation Association took part in the flight which began at Abbotsford International Airport before crossing over several Lower Mainland cities.
"It's such a great loss for all of us. Even with what they were representing at this time, even, in their celebration as they were working their way across Canada," said Nicole Wardstrom, who flew her Cessna in the sombre procession.
At the time of the crash, the Snowbirds had been on a cross-country tour called Operation Inspiration, hoping to spread a little joy as Canadians grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BCGAA dubbed Monday's flyover Operation Backup Inspiration – saying they wanted to symbolically finish the tour stops the Snowbirds couldn't after the crash.
"They were doing this for the people here in B.C. and across Canada. We can certainly try to pick up where they left off and do the best we can and show our support for them at this time," said Elizabeth Jackson, a pilot who met Casey a couple of times in Canada's close-knit aviation community.
"When I found out it was her, my stomach was in my throat. There’s no words. Honestly. It's horrible."
It was an emotional evening for pilots taking part in the flyover as they came together to mourn a fellow aviation enthusiast.
"We're all standing together, not only with Canada, but with our aviation friends and family," Wardstrom said.