35-plane flyover to visit Burnaby tonight in honour of downed Snowbird

Dozens of B.C. pilots will take to the skies tonight (Monday) in a mass flyover that will criss-cross the Lower Mainland in a tribute to the Canadian Forces victim killed in a deadly Snowbird crash in Kamloops Sunday.

Dubbed Operation Backup Inspiration as a nod to the Snowbirds event called Operation Inspiration, the 35 aircraft will depart from Abbotsford Airport and fly over Metro Vancouver. 

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The B.C. General Aviation Association, which is running the event, is timing the flight to coincide with the nightly 7 p.m. cheer for frontline and essential workers.

The aircraft will approach the Tri-Cities from the southeast, cutting across Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam before flying over Port Moody, a waypoint from which they’ll bank southwest back through Coquitlam and into Burnaby.

“These aircraft will not be in any tight formation as we leave that kind of flying to the professionals,” said the aviation association in a written statement, adding only designated pilots contacted by the group are to take part to ensure safety.

The memorial, said the statement, will "pick up where the Snowbirds left off."

Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer with the Canadian Forces, died in the incident in Kamloops on Sunday after the Tutor aircraft she was in crashed into a residential neighbourhood.

Sunday's crash happened the same day the Snowbirds were scheduled to make a trip from Kamloops to Kelowna aimed at boosting the morale of Canadians struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

— with files from the Canadian Press


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