Memorial grows at Mount Royal University for two pilots killed in plane crash

Students and faculty have begun to place flowers outside the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University in honour of two instructors who lost their lives on Monday.

A memorial book has also been placed inside that contains messages of support for the families of the two victims.

Jeffrey Bird and Reyn Johnson were killed when the twin-engine TECNAM they were flying crashed west of Cochrane, Alberta.

Mount Royal University officials have grounded the fleet belonging to the Aviation program for the rest of the week.

They add they remain committed to working with the Transportation Safety Board and they continue to cooperate with the investigation.

It is the second and third fatalities in the school’s 47-year program after the death of Al Milne who was involved in a plane crash back in 1973.

Director of Mount Royal’s Emergency Operations Centre Peter Davison says they’ll also be conducting their own internal review.

“That will come in the future when all regulatory bodies have completed their investigation, it doesn’t mean they will have come to their findings but it will be in the future,” he said.

Davison says two TSB officials were at the site Wednesday, testing the site and it’s unclear if they’ll get any answers from this or if more information will be needed.

He couldn’t comment as to who was in the second plane that witnessed the first going down, it’s unclear if there were additional students aboard.

Work is underway to plan a memorial which will likely be held this weekend.

The family of Reyn Johnson has also released a statement on his passing:

When you think about Reyn, two things come to mind: He was loving and caring and he was also meticulous and professional.

He was thorough and prepared in his approach to both life and work. No task was too small to deserve his care and attention. As a pilot, he took pride in detail, even insisting on ironing his own shirts, not just to look professional, but because he thought that a job worth doing was worth doing right. He raised his two children, Luc and Maryse to also be strong and independent, passing on his eye for detail and precision.

Reyn lived life. As a self-made man, he pursued his hobbies of golf, skiing and carpentry with enthusiasm and joy. He loved to learn and to encourage that in others – his friends, family and students.

Reyn was generous, fun-loving, kind and committed to his family and many friends. Although he was a private person, he was also very open, and he valued time with those he cared about. He and Brenda and their children, Maryse and Luc, created a home that was loving and welcoming to others. Their life together was a foundation of love and strength for their family, church, friends and community.

Reyn’s family meant the world to him. He was a proud and devoted grandpa to Isaac, Abigail and baby Jacob. The last photo taken of Reyn is of him lovingly holding his newest grandchild, born just three days before Reyn’s passing.

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