In Memory of Captains Miles Selby & Michael VandenBos

It is with a heavy heart that I must write another memorial to a Snowbird pilot.

Tragically - 6 years to the day of the last incident, Miles Selby of Tsawwassen, BC was killed while flying in a routine practice over Mossbank Saskatchewan. Six years ago, on Thursday December 10th 1998, Captain Michael VandenBos of the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron - the Snowbirds, was killed during a routine training mission.

Captain Selby's passing hits me particularly hard because about 18 years ago we were in the same Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron - the 828 Hurricane Squadron. I did not know him well, but it was easy to see the passion and love he had for Air Cadets and flying and he was an intelligent young man and I think if we'd stopped to think about it for a moment, I'm sure we would have said he was destined for great things and a successful career in whatever he chose. And it was a great source of pride to know that he had "made it" onto the Snowbirds team. This was his second year with the Snowbirds. And now he will eternally be a a pilot, but this time with real wings of his own.

I did not have the pleasure of actually knowing Captain VandenBos. We "met" through the Snowbirds homepage, where he was webmaster. I had some difficulty with the audio on the page & e-mailed him for assistance. His reply to me was prompt and he was very helpful, pleasant & friendly.

I am certain that he took a lot of pride in his work and enjoyed doing what he did, whether it was maintaining the Snowbirds homepage or flying intricate patterns in the air with a number of other planes mere inches away. I feel like I knew Captain VandenBos in some small way, but I think it would have been very fascinating to have an opportunity to talk with him, to find out if he had that spark & enthusiasm that I would imagine him to have, find out what his favourite aircraft was (aside from the CT-114 Tutor that the Snowbirds fly), what else did he enjoy doing, favourite music etc., what his Air Cadet experiences were like... I could go on, but I will never have the opportunity to find out first hand. It is often when it is too late that we wonder about people & their experiences etc. I am going to make an effort to minimize my wondering, and do more listening & a bit of asking.

My deepest sympathies go out to the family & fiance & friends of Captain Michael VandenBos. I wish you well in dealing with the pain of your loss and that perhaps in some small way knowing that he touched the life of somebody in the far reaches of Cyberspace enough to make a memorial page for him will be of some small comfort.

From one former Cadet to another, and out of utmost respect, I salute you both, Captain Selby and Captain VandenBos.

Thank you.

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Thank you for your understanding.

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