Snow bird crashes Kamloops BC

What I am about to write goes beyond the realm of speculation and drifts dangerously close to fiction:

Looks like an engine failure with an attempt to return to the field. The loss of speed in the chandelle made it clear to the crew that further control of the jet was impossible. To take my untrained observation even further I think this could be seen in a light very favorable to the pilot. It seems he reacted very quickly. I feel ok in saying this because his tight separation from the other jet remained close until the moment of his pull up. He certainly knew that a return with a landing was impossible. But the chandelle indicates to me that this wasn’t really his goal. He just wanted to get the jet pointed in a safe direction before pulling the handle. Once it was clear that even that wasn’t possible, he made the tragically late decision to eject. To be honest, I normally roll my eyes at stories about heroic pilots sacrificing their own lives to avoid a schoolyard full of kids. But this could well be just that, minus the schoolyard. Yes, that’s a massive bit of gross speculation on my part. Very sad tragedy whatever the cause.


Sad. Just sad… :cry:


Pretty much says it all. A tragic loss . :disappointed:


Such a young girl. So much life left in her. I feel for her loved ones. Hope the other guy will recover.
This sucked.


Sounded like a compressor stall on takeoff, loss of power, followed by a spin, without not enough altitude for a safe ejection. Really a shame. So close to making it.

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Going to follow on with @smokinhole‘s idea of engine trouble:

I have had the pleasure to enjoy multiple Snowbird’s performances, and already I have thought they were due for an upgrade. The last of these aircraft rolled off the production line in 1966. They were produced by Canadair, before our aviation industry essentially collapsed which says something on it’s own.

Replacements aren’t scheduled for nearly a half decade, and interim avionics upgrades are near due to start to extend their fielding until 2030, making them up towards 70 years old.

Originally, the Snowbirds’ fleet was rotated with the primary training fleet, evening out wear and flight hours. Not sure if that has continued since the Tutor was replaced as jet trainer with the Hawk.

I cannot decide if something akin to pilot error OR a mechanical fault makes this more tragic. Likely that is not important.

It’s a very sad thing to see happen, someone who dedicated their time to bringing joy to others has to perish at a time like this. Hopefully they can make arrangements for the family to have the funeral services despite the lockdown.


The last time that I saw the Snowbirds was at Dayton for the the Centennial of Flight airshow, which also feathered the Blues and Thunderbirds. They held their own due to the 9 ship format and how smoothly they fly their show. It was very graceful and a thing of beauty to behold.

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That’s a great point! There are two counters to it that Canadians will be thinking about as they evaluate the crash: 1) Mechanical failures happen even in the newest equipment*. 2) The low-ish performance of the plane is part of what makes the Snowbirds so spectacular. It’s such a contrast to our (America’s) two teams. Both countries wow the audience in very different ways. “Finessed Precision” versus “Finessed Power”.

If what seems to have happened really is what happened then the question will be asked why he ejected so late. He will ask himself the same question for the rest of his life. But I personally think we witnessed some extraordinary decision-making that unfortunately ended in the loss of a beautiful life. Still, it could have been much worse. Until subsequent evidence indicates otherwise, I think he or she acted heroically.

*The Boeing/SAAB T/X would look stunning in the Snowbirds livery. (Too early to pitch American hardware?)


It has a listed stall speed around 71kts. In a jet!

Can I e-transfer my tax dollars in advance?
It’s akin enough to a micro-F/A-18, which we clearly will also be flying for quite some time.

Here is a photo I took from the Quinte International AirShow 2016 (QIAS 2016) showing how close they fly in formation. I have some older photos my dad took at QIAS 2003 as well I should dig up.

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Seems like an attempt to return to the airfield after engine(?) issues.

I vaguely recall my training in T6-2 - It directs punching out because you don’t have E to return. Especially at departure end. Practiced more than few times in the emergency procedures sim-profile.
*Unless you’re flying a glider …part of training I received is getting (big surprise to a student) disconnected right at departure end which I did (and was very surprised) - and landed safely after 180 degree turn…

Dealing with engine failure on Dealing with engine failure on
departure and the departure and the “impossible turn mpossible turn”
decision decision

What kind of ejection seat does that jet have?

Weber CL41, according to this site.

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Doesn’t list the specs…I’ve see (video and RL) Martin Baker seats go off at lower altitudes with better results … the sink rate of course has a lot to do with whether or not they were in the envelope and they were in a pretty good dive. Tragic.

The Tutor is an old airframe. I guess the seats are too, although it could’ve gotten upgrades. Still I seriously doubt it has zero-zero capability and gyro stabilized rocket motors like modern seats have.

If the shot pictured above is actually Kamloops then it looks like letting the jet lawndart while punching out would have pointed it away from the neighborhood without the need for a turn. And if that’s the case then it invalidates most everything I wrote above. Anyway, it’s a terribly tough call if, for instance, the engine is initially running but not running great. If it is still producing some thrust then why not try? And then in the middle of trying it goes “poof” and you’re hosed. Flying is safe until it’s not.

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I’m kind of thinking the pull up and turn back would be an automatic training response. The RAF trained the same thing for the Hawk back in the 90’s. They practiced it a lot, but there were some aircraft and crew losses (I saw one crash personally while doing this).