Snowbirds Squad cancel shows in Penticton and Abbotsford, BC after hard landing

A malfunction that caused a Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds pilot to make a hard landing after taking off in northern British Columbia forced the aerobatic team to cancel two performances in the province.

According to a statement on the Snowbirds’ social media pages, the team has canceled its appearance at the Penticton Peach Festival on Wednesday and will not be attending the Abbotsford International Air Show, which begins on Friday.

The CT-114 Tutor jet is said not to fly while the Royal Canadian Air Force Flight Safety Team investigates what happened at Fort St. John on Tuesday, according to a statement.

In an earlier tweet, the Air Force confirmed that the aircraft was damaged but the pilot was not injured.

Officials at the Fort St. John International Air Show Association said the jet malfunctioned on takeoff, but the pilot was able to return to the airport.

The hard landing caused the fire, which was quickly handled by the crew at Northpiece Regional Airport, and the airport said the runway was temporarily closed for inspection.

The Snowbirds’ statement issued Wednesday did not say whether other performances will be cancelled.

“Flight safety is paramount at RCAF, and incident and accident investigations are conducted comprehensively and thoroughly according to established procedures,” the statement said.

The nearly 60-year-old Tutor Jet will be in service with Snowbirds until 2030.

The plane was last grounded in late June as the Air Force addressed a technical issue with the device that sets the timing of the parachute deployment.

In May 2020, a Snowbirds jet collided with a bird shortly after takeoff from Kamloops, British Columbia, causing the engine to stall and killing Public Affairs Officer Capt. Jennifer Casey.

The team suspended operations for the rest of the summer after another Snowbirds jet crashed in rural Georgia less than a year ago due to a faulty fuel supply system.

Reports of the May 2020 Kamloops crash stated that the pilot and passenger ejection sequence was “out of the ejection envelope” and the plane was at such a low altitude that the parachute did not have time to function properly. did. The pilot, Captain Richard McDougal, was seriously injured and Casey died at the scene.

A flight safety investigation into the Georgia crash found that the pilot was able to eject and suffered only minor injuries, but reported “abnormalities” in the escape sequence and parachute opening. The plane was destroyed.

Its investigative report said all life support systems were inspected and inspections of fleet-wide engines were recommended.

canadian press