Canadian Forces Snowbirds grounded in wake of B.C. crash

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The Royal Canadian Air Force has grounded the Snowbirds aerobatic team after one of the aircraft suffered a hard landing last week in northern British Columbia.

Maj.-Gen. Iain Huddleston, the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, ordered the pause on all flights of the team’s Tutor CT-114 aircraft Wednesday after consulting with flight safety experts and the Department of National Defence’s deputy assistant minister for materiel, according to a statement from the air force.

The Aug. 2 accident in Fort St. John, B.C., damaged one aircraft in a hard landing shortly after takeoff, but the pilot escaped without injury.

While the incident is still under investigation, the air force says it will conduct a separate “broad risk analysis” on the Tutor jets with the aim of getting them safely back in the air.


“The RCAF’s airworthiness system will assess whether the accident and its causes pose any risk to continued flying operations, and if so, what mitigation measures can but put in place to lower those risks,” according to the statement.

The nearly 60-year-old aircraft are scheduled to be used by the Snowbirds until at least 2030.

The planes were grounded as recently as late June while the air force investigated with a problem with the device that sets the timing of the aircraft’s emergency ejection parachute. 

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