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Snowbirds hitting pause on flying following crash in B.C.

Operational airworthiness will be examined by Royal Canadian Air Force
The Snowbirds return to the runway at 19 Wing Comox during spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak

As a result of the accident involving a 431 Air Demonstration Squadron (Snowbirds) CT-114 Tutor aircraft on Aug. 2 in Fort St. John, the Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division has ordered an operational pause on the Snowbirds fleet.

As the operational airworthiness authority for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Maj.- Gen. Iain Huddleston implemented the operational pause after consulting with the directorate of flight safety investigators and with experts from the technical airworthiness authority within the Department of National Defence’s assistant deputy minister (materiel).

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The RCAF will conduct a deliberate, detailed and broad risk analysis, with the aim of enabling the safe resumption of CT-114 flying operations. This operational pause means the fleet of aircraft will not fly until an operational airworthiness risk assessment can be completed.

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. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s directorate of flight safety.

In early August, a Snowbird experienced an emergency during takeoff. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, was able to land the plane immediately, but the plane was damaged in the process. The pilot was medically assessed and was uninjured.

The RCAF has an active fleet of 20 CT-114 Tutor aircraft, operated by 431 (AD) Squadron based at 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

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Black Press Media Staff

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