My intention today was to blog about the 35th anniversary of the Snowbirds
, but that has been overshadowed by yesterday's tragedy that occurred at CFB 15 Wing near Moose Jaw.
As an eager audience looked on, two bi-planes crashed and exploded during the Saskatchewan Centennial 2005 Air Show. The accident occurred at approximately 4:20pm, 15 minutes into the 30 minute dare devil flying show, entitled "Masters of Disaster". The civilian pilots, Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin, were both members of the X-Team
and were both air show veterans. At the time of the crash, they were performing a daring manoeuvre simulating a WWI dogfight.
For more information on the crash, please see Air show tragedy: Two pilots die in fiery mid-air crash Sunday in Moose Jaw
The cruel irony of the crash was that this air show was the home show in a season dedicated to Captain Miles Selby
, the Snowbird pilot who lost his life in a training accident on Dec. 10, 2004.
I grew up attending the air shows at CFB 15 Wing and touring the Snowbirds exhibit at Moose Jaw's Western Development Museum
. I suppose that one could say that I have always been a fan of the Snowbirds
. Last year, my husband had the honour of working at an air show in a neighbouring town to our midwestern home. As he was performing his duties, one of the Blue Angels
approached him. After nearly a decade, this fellow still recognized my husband as his buddy from their early naval careers. As the two caught up, it was revealed that they had both been married since they last saw each other, which led to the "how we met" stories. Learning that I was from Canada, my husband's friend began telling us about the shows in which the Blue Angels had worked alongside the Snowbirds. I beamed with pride as he sheepishly exclaimed, "The Snowbirds are better than us!". Later in the day, we marveled at the X-Team as they simulated a WWI dogfight. As the bi-planes flew towards each other, I prayed under my breath that the pilots would remain safe. At the last minute, one plane pulled up and the other pulled down, narrowly missing each other.
Canadian Expatriates extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Mr.Franklin and Mr.Younkin.Update:
TELK has an eye witness account of the accident
.CBC's image gallery of the accident