Snowbirds team cancels shows in Penticton and Abbotsford, B.C., after hard landing


VANCOUVER — A malfunction that forced a Canadian Air Force Snowbirds pilot to make a hard landing after takeoff in northern British Columbia has forced the aerobatic team to cancel two performances in the province.

A statement posted on the Snowbirds’ social media page says the team has canceled Wednesday’s appearance at the Penticton Peach Festival and will not take part in the Abbotsford International Air Show which begins on Friday.

The statement said the CT-114 Tutor jets will not be flying while a Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety team investigates what happened at Fort St. John on Tuesday.

The Air Force confirmed in an earlier tweet that the plane was damaged but the pilot was uninjured.

A Fort St. John International Airshow Society official said the plane suffered a malfunction on takeoff, but the pilot was able to return to the airport.

The hard landing caused a fire which was quickly brought under control by crews at North Peace Regional Airport and the airport said the runway was briefly closed for inspection.

The Snowbirds’ statement released Wednesday did not say whether any other performances will be scrapped.

« Flight safety is paramount in the ARC and incident and accident investigations are carried out in a comprehensive and thorough manner according to well-established procedures, » the statement said.

The nearly 60-year-old Tutor jets are expected to be used by Snowbirds until 2030.

The planes were last grounded in late June as the Air Force addressed a technical glitch in a device that fixes when a parachute deploys during an ejection.

In May 2020, a Snowbirds jet plane collided with a bird shortly after takeoff from Kamloops, British Columbia, causing the engine to stall, and the crash killed Captain Jennifer Casey, a business officer public.

The team was put on operational hiatus for the rest of the summer following the accident, which occurred less than a year after another Snowbirds plane crashed in rural Georgia due to a breakdown. of the fuel system.

A report on the May 2020 accident in Kamloops determined that the pilot and passenger ejection sequences were « outside the ejection envelope » and that the plane was at an altitude so low that their parachutes did not have time to function properly. The pilot, Captain Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured and Casey died at the scene.

A flight safety investigation into the Georgia accident found the pilot was able to eject and had only minor injuries, but reported « abnormalities » with the ejection sequence and the opening of the parachute. The plane was destroyed.

This investigation report stated that all life support equipment had been inspected and an inspection of all fleet engines had been recommended.

— With files from Sarah Ritchie

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 3, 2022.


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