Canadian News

Snowbirds grounded at base until further notice after accident: National Defence

The Tutor twin-engine jets date from 1960s and some Snowbird pilots have gone on to become Canadian Space Agency astronauts.

Jason Unrau Montreal, QC
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Canadian Forces Snowbirds jets returned to their Saskatchewan base at 15 Wing Moose Jaw where they will remain grounded following an Oct. 13, 2019 crash in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
“The Snowbirds have been on an operational pause since Snowbird 5 was forced to eject prior to a show at the Atlanta Speedway,” according to a statement from Department of National Defence on Wednesday.

“The investigation has advanced enough that the Royal Canadian Air Force is confident the CT-114 Tutors parked at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia can be safely flown home.”

The pilot involved in the mishap, Captain Kevin Domon-Grenier, sustained minor injuries said DND “and was taken to hospital as a precaution following the ejection.”

There were no other injuries as the jet crashed in a farmer’s field. National defence would not comment on the Snowbirds 2020 schedule, as it remains “not clear at this time.”

Further “operational risk” will be determined before the Snowbirds begin regular training, according to DND. The accident caused the Snowbirds to cancel their final performance for 2019 in Texas.

The Tutor single-engine jets date from the 1960s and Snowbird pilots selected to form the aerial acrobatics team have gone on to become Canadian Space Agency astronauts including Gino Tessier.

Other Canadian astronauts like current Governor General Julie Payette logged hundreds of flying hours training in a CT-114 jet.

Correction: an earlier version of this article described the Tutor CT-114 as a “twin engine” jet and was unclear about the Snowbirds’ home base, which is in Moose Jaw, Saksatchwan, not Cold Lake, Alberta. TPM regrets any confusion or hard feelings. We like the Snowbirds and will endeavour to do better.

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