‘Air speed is life’: Aviation journalist speaks on Snowbirds crash video

Click to play video: 'Aviation journalist Mark Miller provides clues to Snowbird crash investigation'
Aviation journalist Mark Miller provides clues to Snowbird crash investigation
Aviation journalist Mark Miller provides analysis on social media videos showing the tragedy involving the Canadian Snowbirds and possible clues to what brought down the single-engine aircraft. – May 18, 2020

As military investigators arrive in B.C. Monday to begin the investigation into the fatal Snowbirds plane crash in Kamloops, an aviation journalist and pilot is speaking out about the crash that was caught on video.

An aircraft with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds demonstration team crashed in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday, killing Capt. Jenn Casey and injuring Capt. Richard MacDougall.

The crash occurred as the aircraft was taking off from the airport in Kamloops around 11:30 a.m.

“First impressions are, it looks like a routine take-off,” journalist and pilot Mark Miller said.

“He is rolling down the runway in formation. This was just a transit flight. That’s important to note here. This wasn’t a performance, this was a routine flight that happens hundreds and hundreds of times every week in the Canadian Military.”

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Click to play video: 'Video shows CF Snowbird jet crashing shortly after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C.'
Video shows CF Snowbird jet crashing shortly after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C.

Miller says the moment when pilot MacDougall starts to climb upwards towards the clouds is the first indication of a problem.

“As he starts to climb, we call that a zoom, and he’s trying to convert air speed into altitude and in aviation we say that air speed is life. Altitude is life insurance.”

“And so, having that extra altitude creates two options — one is sort out the problem while you’re farther from the ground — and the second is to create more space between the airplane and the ground to eject.”

Video from the scene appears to show two people ejecting from the jet before it crashed.

Miller said investigators will look at the maintenance records of the airplane and the maintenance history.

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READ MORE: CF Snowbirds team member killed in crash in Kamloops, B.C.

An eight-member flight investigation team is now on the ground to find answers to what happened.

Miller, who spent a few years covering the Snowbirds and flying with them, told Global News Monday his heart goes out to everyone on the team and their families following the tragedy.

“There’s nothing to indicate what happened except for that zoom, that climb for altitude,” he said.

Coverage of the Snowbirds crash on


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