Several of us at APS have had the opportunity to fly as display pilots performing formation aerobatics within less than a wingspan of teammates, sometimes inverted, close to the ground. There is a camaraderie that comes from participating in these exacting roles, which extends beyond pilots to the support teams maintaining the aircraft, and those who work with the media and others in fulfillment of a team’s mission.
For the military jet teams of North America, their mission has changed this year. From being saluted for performing heroic maneuvers, the US Navy Blue Angels, the US Air Force Thunderbirds, and The Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force have turned to salute the true heroes of the current pandemic, medical professionals and others working to save those affected by the virus.
In order to boost morale amid the COVID-19 pandemic and pay tribute to both victims of the virus and those battling it on the front lines, a tour named Operation Inspiration was established for The Snowbirds, officially known as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron. As they were taking off from Kamloops, British Columbia for one of their flights earlier this week, an accident occurred resulting in the death of the squadron’s Public Affairs Officer, Captain Jennifer Casey.
The APS team offers our condolences to Captain Casey’s family and the members of The Snowbirds, and wish to express our appreciation for the important work all our military display teams are carrying out in recognition of the current situation. Captain Casey is a hero and will be missed.