Watch in this video as former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) F/A-18 pilot and two-time Snowbird Lt.Col Robert ‘Scratch’ Mitchell joins The Fighter Pilot Podcast on YouTube – hosted by a former U.S. Navy F/A-18 and F-16 pilot – to evaluate footage from the tragic and fatal Snowbird crash in Kamloops, B.C., Canada on Sunday, killing one crew member – Captain Jennifer Casey. Snowbird pilot Captain Richard MacDougall was injured and taken to the hospital. We know the crash is under investigation, but for now we think it’s interesting to hear from former fighter pilots and a former team member, what could have caused the tragic crash.
Tragic crash during tour across Canada
The Canadair CT-114 Tutor from the Snowbirds Demonstration Team crashed on Sunday, killing one crew member. The jet crashed in a residential area in Kamloops, British Columbia – about 155 miles northeast of Vancouver in Canada. The crash occured during a tour across the country – “Operation Inspiration”, intended to “salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19.” Public Affairs Officer for the Snowbirds Captain Jennifer Casey died in the crash, while the pilot sustained serious injuries.
The Snowbirds – Canada’s finest
The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, officially known as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, are a Canadian icon comprised of Canadian Armed Forces members and National Defence Public Service employees -pilots, technicians, mobile support operators, resource management support clerks and more – working as a team to bring thrilling performances to the public every year at airshows in North America.
The Snowbirds demonstrate the high level of skill, professionalism, teamwork, discipline, and dedication inherent in the men and women of the CAF and inspire the pursuit of excellence wherever they go.
Snowbirds Podcast prior to crash
Just last week – on episode 081 of The Fighter Pilot Podcast on YouTube – former RCAF F/A-18 pilot and two-time Snowbird Lt.Col Robert ‘Scratch’ Mitchell already joined the YouTuber and former U.S. Navy pilot to describe the ins and outs of this amazing demonstration team from Canada, including the exhausting and sometimes un-glamorous life on the road between shows. Scratch doubles as co-host this episode – uploaded just 4 days prior to the crash on Sunday – and answers a few listener questions specific to his experiences and what he sees as the future for the Snowbirds.
Table of contents of the podcast video:
0:04:43 – Guest introduction
0:08:31 – About Snowbirds
0:10:29 – About their aeroplanes
0:20:36 – Logistics
0:26:42 – Social skills
0:29:55 – Self-criticism and team work
0:33:46 – Typical demonstration program
0:35:45 – Escape Manoeuvres
0:39:15 – Crucial qualities of a military pilot
0:41:34 – Joining Snowbirds, progressing, staying focused
0:47:53 – Role of the lead
0:52:02 – The accident
0:56:09 – Replacement and responsibility
0:59:25 – Other performances aside from airshows
1:01:23 – Debriefs and self-improvement
1:03:12 – Particular trimming for flying in formations
1:05:06 – Possible replacements for CT-114 Tutor
1:07:06 – Official approvals of the aerobatics program
1:08:26 – Costs involved
1:09:25 – What it’s like to fly the Tutor compared to more modern aircraft
1:10:32 – How long does it take a new member to learn flying demo
1:12:28 – Which other aerobatics team would he like to fly with
1:14:06 – Source of spare parts
1:15:57 – Future plans (aviation in film)
1:20:21 – Story behind the call sign