Final Report on Deadly Snowbirds Collision in BC Flag Pilot Action

Last year’s deadly Snowbirds crash report in Ottawa-British Columbia raised concerns about pilot behavior in the desperate moment before the plane landed in a residential area, and the Air Force was due to such a situation. States that better procedures need to be developed.

According to the final flight safety investigation report released on Monday, Captain Richard McDagal tried to turn the tutor jet back to Kamloops Airport after a bird strike caused the engine to shut down shortly after takeoff on May 17. ..

Despite past flight safety reports, all previous tutor diversion attempts have failed, giving pilots time to regain control of their aircraft or allowing safe discharge. I recommended climbing straight for this.

“In these examples, everything happened at the same flight stage as this one, but the pilot started zooming and turned towards the airport in an attempt to land on the prepared surface,” the report said. I will.

“In all outbreaks, we did not have enough energy to carry out the maneuver, and in all outbreaks the crew was evacuated at a low level. Unfortunately, two outbreaks resulted in a total of three deaths. came out.”

MacDougall told investigators that the plane was concerned about hitting a residential area, and the report said, “Power outages are due to its low altitude, speed, and proximity to other aircraft and nearby areas. I couldn’t come at a worse time. “

“Looking back at this accident, we are vulnerable to hindsight bias and we speculate on pilot behavior again,” the report said.

Nevertheless, the Air Force sought to develop better guidance and training for tutor pilots in the event of an emergency during takeoff or landing, especially when flying near densely populated areas. I am.

Investigators also expressed concern that McDagal had ordered his fellow passenger, Captain Jennifer Casey, to leave the aircraft. Pilots are trained to shout “eject” three times in a row quickly, but the report says “pull the steering wheel” instead.

“The format of this command is designed to start ejecting when the passenger hears the first” EJECT “of the command, followed by the pilot hearing the third” EJECT “that initiates his ejection. “The report states.

“This difference in wording contributed to the overall confusion / uncertainty of the situation, which could have resulted in passengers popping out second.”

Snowbirds spokeswoman Casey was killed after leaving the tutor. MacDougall was seriously injured but not life-threatening. At that time, the military aerobatic team was on a transnational morale tour in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investigators conducted a crash investigation using videos taken by the audience and physical evidence. This is the second time Snowbirds’ 50-year-old tutor jet has been involved in less than a year.

Investigation confirmed that a bird strike caused the compressor to stall and lost power to the plane. However, it was also found that the strike did not cause much damage to the plane. There were no serious technical issues before takeoff.

The bird turned out to be the Western Tanager.

One of the unanswered questions was why Casey’s ejection seat moved backwards at some point after leaving the aircraft, and why she couldn’t avoid it. The most likely cause was her arm or leg stretched and rolled in the air.

Casey’s parachute was reportedly not fully open, and due to the plunge when McDagal and Casey ejected, there was not enough time for the tutor’s eject system to work properly.

The research report contains a total of five recommendations, including investigating changes to make the emission system more stable and installing a flight data recorder that can withstand collisions.

Snowbirds announced in December that it will be attending air shows in parts of Canada and the United States starting in June after canceling all of last year’s season.

The federal government recently approved a project to extend the lifespan of tutors to 2030. The upgrade will include new avionics and equipment, as well as the glass cockpit. Another project is underway to improve the plane’s emission system.

By Lee Berthiaume

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